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Planner Slot Vacant After Torgerson Leaves

Molokai is again without a staff planner with the county’s Planning Department.

Mikal Torgerson, who became the Molokai Staff Planner at the beginning of this year, was let go late last month. Projects under his review have been passed on to other planning staff.

Torgerson did not return calls for comment.

Planning Supervisor Jeffery Dack could not comment on Torgerson’s leaving. He said the department will replace Torgerson in the coming months.

But Molokai Planning Commission (MoPC) Chairman Steve Chaikin said he is skeptical the county will fill the position that quickly.

“With the way that the economy is and the way the budgets are, I don’t know what they’ll do,” he said.

The county did not notify MoPC that Torgerson was leaving.

“It seems like being on the commission, they should have let us know,” said Commissioner Nat Bacon, adding that he was surprised by the news. “From what I could tell, he was doing a good job.”

For years Molokai didn’t have planner who worked exclusively on-island. Chaikin said given the small number of development projects here, the county may be temped to cut the position, but that would be a mistake.

“You need someone over here that knows the island and knows the process and has some longevity,” he said.

Slow Season
Torgerson’s departure comes at the end of a slow few months for MoPC. The commission has not met since July, in part due to summer vacations, though a handful of meetings have been cancelled for lack of business.

“There were not enough items to warrant the significant expense of flying people over [from Maui] and staffing a meeting,” Dack said.

Chaikin questioned this idea – after three months, he said he assumed there would be a backlog of items for MoPC to review.
 
“We can’t just lollygag forever,” he added.

The next MoPC meeting is scheduled for Oct. 27.

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