GOVERNOR’S OFFICE NEWS RELEASE: Governor Ige names two deputy directors

Posted on Dec 12, 2016 in Latest News, Newsroom, Press Releases

Laurel Johnston appointed to Budget and Finance, Ryker Wada appointed to Human Resources Development

HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige has appointed Laurel Johnston to serve as deputy director of the Department of Budget and Finance. Johnston leaves her post as the governor’s deputy chief of staff to fill the position that has been vacant since mid-November when Rod Becker was appointed to serve as the state comptroller.

Laurel Johnston to serve as deputy director of the Department of Budget and Finance

During her 30-year career in Hawaiʻi, Johnston has served as a public administrator, researcher, and writer in the diverse policy areas of education and health, criminal and social justice, economic development, and public finance. Prior to joining Gov. Ige’s staff she was the director of the University of Hawaiʻi System Budget Office. She earned a Master of Science degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology, both from Florida State University.

Johnston’s appointment is effective Dec. 16 and is subject to confirmation by the Hawaiʻi State Senate during the next regular session.

“Budget and finance is a critical department, and I asked Laurel to take on this new role because she has a deep understanding of the state’s core functions and the budgeting process. She has the experience and skills to challenge the way things have been done in the past and chart new paths to long-term financial stability,” said Gov. Ige.

“I appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve Gov. Ige and thank him and Director Machida for the trust they have in me to assist in managing our state’s fiscal resources. The governor and I agree that the executive budget is our state’s primary public policy document, and we will work collaboratively with the legislative branch to shape a budget that sets the state’s course over the next two years,” said Johnston.

Ryker Wada to be the deputy director of the Department of Human Resources Development

Gov. Ige also named Ryker Wada to be the deputy director of the Department of Human Resources Development. He will replace Cindy Inouye who is retiring after a distinguished career in state government.

Wada currently serves as the Certificated Personnel Regional Officer for the Windward District of the Department of Education (DOE) where he is responsible for human resources and labor relations. Before joining the DOE, he served as the Managing Attorney for the Honolulu Office of the Legal Aid Society of Hawai‘i. Wada earned a B.A. from the University of Washington and a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of the Law.

Wada’s appointment is effective Jan. 3 and is not subject to confirmation by the Hawaiʻi State Senate.

“I thank Cindy Inouye for her diligent service to the state. She has been a true advocate for state employees and has ensured that the people of Hawaiʻi have been well served. I wish her the best,” said Gov. Ige.

“Ryker has experience in both the legislative and executive branches of government with a particular emphasis on human resources and labor relations. He will be an asset to the human resources development team as it creates a culture of innovation and explores fresh ways to recruit and support state employees,” said Gov. Ige.

“It is an honor and privilege to be considered for this position. I welcome the opportunity to assist Gov. Ige and Director Nishimoto in service to our community,” said Wada.



Media Contacts:

Jodi Leong

Deputy Communications Director/Press Secretary

Office of the Governor

Office: 808-586-0043

Mobile: 808-798-3929

[email protected]


Cindy McMillan

Communications Director

Office of the Governor

Office: 808-586-0012

Mobile: 808-265-7974

[email protected]