Former clerk Kawauchi lands job in county prosecutor’s office


HILO — Former County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi has been hired as a deputy prosecuting attorney in the county Prosecutor’s Office in Kona.

Kawauchi served two years as clerk while former Hamakua Councilman Dominic Yagong was chairman. She resigned when Yagong left office Dec. 3.

Her tenure as clerk was marred by controversy, after she fired four Elections Division staff when evidence surfaced of staff drinking alcohol and running a private business out of the elections warehouse. Problems with late poll openings during the primary election resulted in the state Office of Elections taking over operations during the General Election.

According to her resume, Kawauchi is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools, Macalester College and the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law. A former Harvard University fellow, she was assistant director of the Harvard Medical School Center of Excellence in Minority Health and Health Disparities and a legal and public policy associate of the Harvard Law School/Harvard Graduate School of Education Civil Rights Project.

Prior to becoming clerk, Kawauchi had her own law practice. She has also been an associate with Carlsmith Ball LLP and Tsukazaki Yeh & Moore LLLP. She was a law clerk to Judge Greg K. Nakamura and recently served on the County Charter Commission.

She was hired as one of 31 deputy prosecutors by the new County Prosecutor Mitch Roth, who won election in a squeaker against Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida, who was often at odds with Kawauchi while she was clerk.

Deputy prosecutors earn between $78,300 and $99,240, according to the most recent position and salary report provided the County Council.

Staff at the Prosecutor’s Office confirmed Kawauchi’s position. Neither Kawauchi nor Roth returned telephone calls Tuesday.