The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART) and its Board of Directors have announced the resignation of Executive Director and CEO Dan Grabauskas, effective Aug. 18.
HART ex-officio voting board member Michael D. Formby is immediately serving as acting executive director.
Formby also holds the role of director of Transportation Services for the city and county of Honolulu. He resigned from the HART board in order to begin serving as acting executive director of HART.
Grabauskas and the board confirmed a separation agreement that will pay $282,250 to the former president and CEO.
“It has been an honor and pleasure to have worked on this transformational project for [more than four] years,” Grabauskas said regarding his departure. “I believe in the project and its importance to the residents of Oahu, and by stepping aside I hope to allow HART to move forward to ultimate success with fresh leadership. The wonderful HART team has been like a second family to me and I wish all the best for them and the board in the work ahead.”
HART officials emphasized that the board remains committed to the completion of the 20-mile rail route to Ala Moana.
“We are very thankful to Dan for all of his years of dedicated service to the rail project,” said Chair of the HART board Colleen Hanabusa. “The project got off to a strong start because of his energy and enthusiasm. We wish him well.”
HART officials also announced the launch of a HART board subgroup, led by businessman Colbert Matsumoto, that will search for candidates to permanently serve as the company’s new executive director and CEO.
“The HART board wanted to act swiftly but prudently so that the business of HART is not interrupted by Dan Grabauskas’s resignation,” Hanabusa said. “We are fortunate that [Michael Formby] has the knowledge and leadership skills and was willing to assume this temporary assignment while the board recruits for and fills the position of executive director and CEO.”
Hanabusa added that Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has shown support for the HART board and the rail project, and she is hopeful that he will agree to Formby’s temporary appointment.
“I look forward to working closely with Deputy Executive Director Brennon Morioka and the hard-working HART staff as we move quickly to strengthen our working relationship with the Mayor, the Honolulu City Council, the State of Hawaii and the Federal Transit Administration,” Formby said of his new appointment. “As a HART board member, I am familiar with the many challenges facing this project and I am committed to working with the HART team to move this project forward in a manner that is transparent, responsive and in the best interest of the transit riders and taxpayers.”
Formby has previously served as Interim Director of Transportation in 2010 and the Deputy Director of the State of Hawaii Harbors Division prior to that from 2007 to 2010. With more than 20 years of experience as a lawyer, Formby has taught at Hawaii Pacific University and the William S. Richardson School of Law. He has also served on the State of Hawaii’s Land Use Commission.