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County of Maui Office of Recovery

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Last updated February 15, 2024

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Aloha from the Office of Recovery

On September 19, 2023, Mayor Richard T. Bissen Jr. established the County of Maui Office of Recovery to coordinate efforts following the August 2023 wildfires. This office collaborates closely with government entities and the community to facilitate comprehensive recovery initiatives. Working tirelessly across sectors such as housing, infrastructure, economic revitalization, and more, we are committed to rebuilding and revitalizing Maui. Join us as we navigate the path to recovery, ensuring a brighter future for our island community.

Presentation made to the Hawai'i State Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024

Updates from the County of Maui Office of Recovery; partnerships; public assistance timeline; infrastructure roadmap; Maui Emergency Management Agency access control; debris removal; housing updates and funding sources.

view presentation (PDF)
2024 February WAM Info Briefing

long-term resurgence

2023 Maui County Wildfires Initial Recovery Needs Assessment

Following the devastating wildfires that destroyed over 2,000 structures on Maui in August 2023, a comprehensive Recovery Needs Assessment has been conducted through the collaborative efforts of county, state, and federal partners. This assessment lays the foundation for critical recovery initiatives required for the community's long-term resurgence.

view needs assessment (PDF)
2023 Maui County Wildfires Initial Recovery Needs Assessment


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Maui County Recovery Framework

Executive Summary  

In response to the Maui wildfires, the Maui County Recovery Framework serves as a structured plan for organized recovery. This framework represents the County's dedication to reconstructing infrastructure, restoring community vitality, revitalizing the economy, and ensuring the well-being of its residents.

Sections of the Latest Maui Recovery Framework are below. If you want to view the entire document for the Maui Recovery Framework, click on the link below.

Download presentation hereMaui Recovery Framework (PDF)
Maui Recovery Framework presentation
the recovery framework

Guiding Principles

The Recovery Framework operates under seven guiding principles:

  • Community-Led, Government Supported 
  • Individual and Family 
  • Leadership and Local Primacy 
  • Engaged Partnerships and Inclusiveness 
  • Unity of Effort 
  • Resilience and Sustainability 
  • Psychological and Emotional Recovery 
Learn more about Guiding Principles

Providing guidance to recovery operations is the Mayor's Advisory Council, which provides a crucial bridge between community voices and the Mayor’s office.

The Office of Recovery plays a pivotal role as the epicenter of all recovery operations. From overarching strategy formulation by the Recovery Manager to sector-specific initiatives through the Recovery Support Functions (RSFs), this office embodies the County's dedicated commitment to holistic recovery.

The Executive Recovery Committee acts as the linchpin, binding local intent with state, federal, and private sector capabilities.

Office of Recovery Staff: Efficient recovery hinges on robust administrative processes, proper information management, and documentation. Be it financial management, data analytics, or logistical support, the administrative teams ensure that recovery operations are streamlined, transparent, and effective.

Communication and Community Engagement: Open dialogue and community involvement lie at the heart of this framework. Through communication mechanisms and feedback channels, Maui County ensures that recovery is not a passive process for its residents but an active collaboration.

Recovery Process: Recovery is a cycle of analyzing impacts, identifying needs, crafting strategies, and implementing them. This cyclical approach ensures adaptability, allowing the recovery process to evolve with changing circumstances and new insights.

Recovery Support Functions (RSFs): These sector-specific units are the operational arms of the recovery process. From community planning to preserving natural & cultural resources, RSFs ensure that every facet of Maui's recovery receives the dedicated attention and expertise it deserves.

Coordination and Collaboration: By fostering intra-county coordination, engaging with external governmental bodies, and harnessing the strength of non-governmental organizations, the framework ensures a cohesive and holistic recovery approach.

In essence, the Maui County Recovery Framework is a testament to the County's resilience and determination. It captures a vision of a community that not only bounces back from adversity but rises stronger, more unified, and prepared for the future.

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Rebuilding

An update on plans to support the rebuilding effort

With more than 2,000 properties damaged or destroyed as a result of the August 2023 wildfires, extraordinary efforts are required to assist impacted property owners in rebuilding their home and businesses in Lahaina and Upcountry. The County of Maui understands there are many questions and concerns about what comes next.

To that end, the County is proactively evaluating its development and permitting policies to find opportunities to streamline and accelerate permit processing for previously developed and damaged properties affected by the wildfires. We are also assessing strategies for contracting outside services to support permit review and processing.

The County is committed to providing a thorough and expeditious rebuilding process and will share more information on this effort as it becomes available.

office of recovery

Organizational Structure

The organizational structure represents the foundation upon which the Maui County Recovery Framework stands. It is designed to streamline decision-making, foster collaboration, and ensure that every voice is heard. Clear roles and responsibilities allow for efficient resource allocation and avoid overlapping duties.

The Maui County's Office of Recovery stands as a centralized hub orchestrating and overseeing recovery operations. It's positioned not just to facilitate physical reconstruction, but also to revitalize the community, ensuring that the socio-economic fabric is restored, and strengthened.

Learn more about the Mayor's Advisory Council

Mayor’s Advisory Council

Role: The Mayor's Advisory Council serves as an interface between the community and the mayor’s office in the aftermath of the disaster. It acts as a channel through which concerns, suggestions, and feedback from the community members are conveyed directly to the county leadership.

Significance: The council plays a pivotal role in ensuring that recovery efforts are grounded in the realities and priorities of the affected community. By providing an avenue for key community leaders to provide direct input, the council ensures that recovery strategies align with the needs and desires of those most affected.

Members: The council comprises a diverse group of stakeholders, including:

  • Archie Kalepa - 9th generation resident of Lahaina; inducted in 2012 to the Duke Kahanamoku Foundation’s Hawaii Watermen Hall of Fame; crew member of Hokule’a and Hawaiiloa voyaging canoes; leader of Maui Ocean Rescue and Safety; renowned big wave surfer.
  • Kaliko Storer - Area training and cultural advisor for Hyatt Resorts; Puu Kukui Watershed operations supervisor; Kula Kaiapuni parent.
  • Kim Ball - Originally from Hawaii Island, where he was born and raised, founder and president of Hi-Tech Maui, Inc.; Lahainaluna High School wrestling coach since 1980.
  • Laurie DeGama - Owner of Lahaina businesses No Ka Oi Deli; president of Lahainaluna PTSA; for two generations, her family owned and operated Hop Wo store and bakery in Lahaina.
  • Rick Nava - U.S. Army veteran; president and owner of Lahaina-based MSI Maui; for board member and officer of West Maui Taxpayers Association and the Maui Chamber of Commerce; member of Rotary Club of Lahaina.
Learn more about the Executive Recovery Committee

Executive Recovery Committee

The Executive Recovery Committee acts as the linchpin, binding local intent with state, federal, and private sector capabilities. Through cohesive efforts, they ensure that Maui County's recovery journey is well-guided, well-resourced, and ultimately successful.

The Executive Recovery Committee may include representatives such as those from federal and state disaster recovery coordination, local emergency management leadership, philanthropic recovery leadership, and other senior leaders from relevant external entities. This committee plays a crucial role in guiding and consolidating the recovery efforts. The members contribute a wide-ranging perspective, integrating local insights and the capabilities of nonprofit, state, and federal entities, to ensure that the county’s recovery is both prompt and enduring.

Responsibilities: The primary mandates of the Executive Committee are:

  • Coordination: Serve as the nexus between federal, state, and local recovery efforts, ensuring synchronization and mutual reinforcement of initiatives.
  • Guidance: Provide strategic direction based on national best practices and state-level insights to shape recovery efforts optimally.
  • Resource Mobilization: Leverage state, federal, and philanthropic resources, including funds, expertise, and labor capacity, to bolster local recovery initiatives.
  • Community Advocacy: Represent the broader interests of the Maui community at the state and national levels, ensuring their needs and aspirations are consistently factored into larger recovery discourse.
Learn more about the Roles and Structure of the Office of Recovery

The Role and Structure of the Office of Recovery

The Maui County's Office of Recovery stands as a centralized hub orchestrating and overseeing
recovery operations. It's positioned not just to facilitate physical reconstruction, but also to revitalize
the community, ensuring that the socio-economic fabric is restored, and strengthened.

Recovery Manager:

Role: The Recovery Manager is the top executive responsible for the overall direction, strategy, and
efficacy of the recovery efforts.

  • Overseeing the holistic recovery operation.
  • Collaborating with local, state, and federal agencies.
  • Liaising with the Mayor's office, Mayor’s Advisory Council, and the County Council, ensuring
    the alignment of strategies and actions.
  • Decision-making in critical areas of recovery, ensuring resources are allocated where they're
    most needed.
  • Hold regular project review meetings to prioritize projects selected for development, ensure
    awareness of all relevant agencies, and communicate plans to the Mayor’s Office.

Assistant Recovery Manager:

Role: Directly supporting the Recovery Manager, the Assistant Recovery Manager plays a critical role
in operationalizing strategies and ensuring their effective execution.

  • Assisting in the development and implementation of recovery strategies.
  • Overseeing day-to-day operations and ensuring the effectiveness of Recovery Support
    Functions.
  • Serving as a key liaison between the Office of Recovery Support Staff and the Recovery
    Manager.

Recovery Support Functions:

Role: Recovery Support Functions are specialized teams focusing on specific areas of recovery.

  • Developing and implementing strategies tailored to their specific sector.
  • Coordinating with external partners and stakeholders relevant to their function.
  • Reporting progress, challenges, and resource needs to the Recovery Manager and Assistant
    Recovery Manager.

Office of Recovery Staff

Administrative support is essential to ensure a robust recovery effort. The processes, tasks, and responsibilities that fall under administration ensure that efforts are organized, coordinated, efficient, and transparent. With the right support, recovery can progress smoothly, ensuring that resources are utilized effectively, and goals are achieved in a timely manner.

Special Project Executive Assistants

  • Critical and Specialized proficiency: Including roles of Liaison, Philanthropic Advisor, and expert administrators of Federal programs such as HUD’s Community Block Development Grant.
  • Addressing Cross-Cutting Challenges: Address and elevate large cross cutting issues that contain multi-layered challenges concerning rebuilding and recovery (e.g., permitting, housing, supply chain).
  • Engagement in Legislative Process and Policy: Relay the concerns and needs of the affected populace to policymakers, suggesting improvements in recovery policies and strategies to better address the needs of the community.

Financial and Resource Management Team:

  • Budgeting and Financial Planning for Recovery: Crafting detailed financial plans that align with recovery goals, ensure resource allocation is efficient and in line with priorities.
  • Seeking and Managing Grants or Technical Assistance: Actively researching and applying for financial grants or technical assistance programs that can support recovery efforts and implement strategies and projects.
  • Financial Transparency and Accountability Measures: Implementing systems to ensure that all financial transactions, allocations, and expenditures are transparent and can be audited.
  • Informing Budgetary Decisions (to Elected Officials): Regularly updating elected officials on financial matters, ensuring they have the information needed for informed decision-making.

Communications and Public Information Team:

  • Communication Strategy: Developing a comprehensive strategy that outlines communication goals, channels, frequency, and target audiences.
  • Public Relations: Engaging with media and ensuring consistent and positive messaging.
  • Engage Feedback: Collaborating with staff in Administrative Support and the RSFs to ensure that there is a robust system for receiving and documenting community feedback.


Administrative Support Team:

  • Documentation/Reporting: Consistently documenting recovery progress, challenges, decisions, and outcomes. Preparing regular reports for internal reviews and public consumption.
  • Scheduling and Coordination: Managing schedules for recovery activities, meetings, and events. Coordinating among various teams and stakeholders to ensure smooth operations.


Data Analytics Team:

  • Data Collection: Gathering relevant data from various sources, ensuring it's accurate, timely, and organized for analysis.
  • Geospatial Analysis: Analyzing data in a spatial context, useful for infrastructure planning, housing projects, and community planning.
  • Data Visualization: Transforming complex data sets into visual formats like charts, graphs, and maps, making it easier for stakeholders to understand and make decisions.

Performance Dashboards & Progress Reports: real-time tracking dashboard and regularly published documents detailing the achievements, challenges, and upcoming activities, providing transparency and accountability to stakeholders and the community.

Learn more about Specialized Task Forces

Specialized Task Forces

To address specific challenges, nuances, or areas of focus during the recovery process, the Recovery Manager holds the authority to establish Specialized Task Forces. These task forces will be instrumental in streamlining efforts, harnessing expertise, and ensuring a targeted approach to various recovery aspects.

Purpose and Formation:

Specialized Task Forces are formed when there's a recognized need to delve deeper into specific issues, challenges, or areas that require concentrated attention. Their composition is designed to bring together subject-matter experts, community representatives, and relevant stakeholders to collaboratively address these niche areas.

Roles and Responsibilities:

  1. Research and Analysis: Delve deep into the specific challenge or area of focus,
    understanding its intricacies and ramifications.
  2. Recommendation Development: Based on their findings, the task force will develop strategic recommendations for the Recovery Manager and other relevant entities.
  3. Implementation Support: While the main responsibility might be advisory, task forces can also play a role in guiding and supporting the implementation of their recommendations.
  4. Continuous Monitoring: Once recommendations are executed, the task force can assist in monitoring the outcomes, making necessary adjustments, and ensuring the strategies' effectiveness.

Duration and Dissolution:

The duration of each Specialized Task Force will largely depend on the nature of the challenge they're addressing. Once their objectives are met, and their recommendations have been implemented and assessed, the Recovery Manager can choose to dissolve the task force.


Collaboration with Recovery Support Functions (RSFs):

While Specialized Task Forces operate with a specific focus, their work is interconnected with broader recovery efforts. They will maintain close collaboration with RSFs to ensure alignment in goals, resources, and strategies. This synergistic approach ensures that while the task force dives deep into issues, the overall recovery blueprint remains cohesive and unified.

The introduction of Specialized Task Forces under the discretion of the Recovery Manager adds a layer of agility and expertise to the recovery framework, ensuring that no challenge is too niche or complex to be effectively addressed.

how it works

Decision-making Structure for the Office of Recovery

When Decisions Must be Elevated to the Mayor:

  • Strategic Direction: Any decision impacting the overall strategic direction of the recovery process or the county's long-term vision must involve the Mayor.
  • Emergency Situations: In scenarios where immediate executive intervention is required due to urgency or potential large-scale implications.
  • Legislative Changes: If the recovery process requires legislative changes or interventions, the Mayor's office should be involved.
  • Public Communication: Major announcements or press releases, especially those affecting the county's image or the public's perception, must be approved by the Mayor.
Hierarchical Structure
  • Operational Level: RSFs operate at the ground level, making decisions based on day-to-day operational needs.
  • Management Level: Recovery management oversees all RSFs, ensuring coordination, providing guidance, and making higher-level decisions.
  • Executive Level: The Mayor's office holds the highest authority in the decision-making process, intervening in critical situations and making overarching policy decisions.
Authority of RSF Leads
  • Operational Autonomy: RSF leads have the authority to make operational decisions within their domain. This includes coordination with their teams, stakeholder engagement, needs assessment, and action implementation.
  • Coordination: RSF leads can engage with other RSFs for cross-functional efforts, information sharing, and collaborative strategies without necessarily seeking approval from the management level.
  • Recommendations: RSF leads can put forth suggestions for policy changes, strategic shifts, or broader initiatives based on their field insights.
Escalation to Recovery Management
  • Complex Decisions: If a decision goes beyond the operational scope or could have implications on multiple RSFs, it should be elevated to recovery management.
  • Resource Allocation: Since RSFs do not have a budget, any requirement for financial resources must be escalated to recovery management for allocation or fundraising efforts.
  • Policy Implications: Any decision that might require a change in existing policies or the creation of new ones must be brought to the attention of the management.
  • Conflicts: In case of disagreements or conflicts between different RSFs, recovery management intervenes to provide a resolution.
engaging community

Communication & Community Outreach

At the heart of an effective recovery process lies transparent communication and genuine community engagement. By fostering open dialogues, Maui County ensures that its recovery strategies are in tune with the community's needs, values, and aspirations. A community that is informed and engaged is more resilient, cooperative, and supportive of recovery efforts.

The Communications and Public Information Team has the primary responsibility for providing information to the public on Recovery. It is the responsibility of those serving on the communications teams to develop a comprehensive public information plan and execute that plan.

Mechanisms for Ongoing Communication with the Public May Include:
  • Public Information Hub: A centralized digital platform, such as a website or app, dedicated to providing updates on recovery progress, future plans, and critical announcements.
  • Town Hall Meetings: Regularly scheduled in-person or virtual meetings where officials provide updates, and residents can ask questions and voice concerns.
  • Community Bulletin Boards: Physical boards placed in key community locations (like community centers, schools, and local businesses) displaying important updates and announcements.
  • Social Media Channels: Using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to disseminate
    information, share stories, and engage with the younger demographic.
  • SMS & Email Alerts: A system where residents can opt-in to receive real-time alerts and important announcements directly on their phones or in their email inboxes.
  • Local Media Partnerships: Collaborations with local radio, television, and newspapers to ensure wide-reaching and consistent messaging.
SHARE YOUR MANA‘O

Community Feedback

Its Incorporation into the Recovery Process

Solicitation of community feedback will be a shared responsibility of members of the Office of Recovery. The Communications and Public Information Team and the Community Planning RSF will work collaboratively to lead community input processes. The Administrative Support Team will support efforts to document and disseminate outcomes of community feedback processes for incorporation into RSF activities. All recovery support functions will participate in the public input process based on the scope and needs determined by the Community Planning RSF.

Feedback Portals

Online platforms or mobile apps where residents can submit their feedback, suggestions, or concerns related to recovery efforts.

Community Surveys

Periodic digital and physical surveys distributed among residents to gauge their satisfaction with recovery efforts, gather their insights, and understand their evolving needs.

Focus Group Discussions

Engaging diverse groups of residents in detailed discussions about specific aspects of the recovery. This could include groups centered around business owners, parents, the elderly, or representatives from various neighborhoods.

Public Comment Sessions

Designated segments during town hall meetings or separate sessions where residents can provide feedback on proposed recovery strategies or projects.

Feedback Review Committees

Committees dedicated to regularly reviewing the feedback collected, identifying patterns or common issues, and translating them into actionable insights.

Integration into Strategy Development

Ensuring that feedback received directly informs the refinement of recovery strategies. For example, if a significant number of residents raise concerns about a specific housing project, the strategy would be reviewed and adjusted accordingly.

Transparency in Feedback Utilization

Providing updates back to the community about how their feedback was used, ensuring they feel heard and valued. This could be done through the Public Information Hub or during town hall meetings.

initial findings

Synthesis of Public Testimony

This PPT compiles testimonies solicited at Maui County Council meetings after the Lahaina Town Fire. FEMA analysts meticulously reviewed 165 testimonies from nine meetings, distilling them into thematic elements crucial for future recovery planning. This synthesized information serves as a valuable resource for informed decision-making and strategic initiatives post-disaster.

Synthesis of Public Testimony

long-term resurgence

Kula Needs Assessment Survey

On January 30, 2024, the County of Maui Office of Recovery presented findings from a survey aimed at gathering crucial feedback from Kula residents and the wider community. The primary goal was to assess the priority needs within the Kula community, particularly among those directly or indirectly affected by the Upcountry wildfires in August 2023. Click on the image on the right to view these key findings.

view needs assessment (PDF)
2024 Kula Needs Assessment Survey


Other Updates

Can’t find what you are looking for and want to speak to a representative?

Please contact the State of Hawaii Maui Disaster Relief Call Center:

Contact the Call Center at 808-727-1550


Open 7AM – 7PM daily Monday thru Saturday

Or email us at support@mauirecovers.org