County of Maui Finance Department Director Danilo “Danny” Agsalog was recently the subject of an investigation involving his conduct in the office, two individuals with knowledge of the investigation said this week.
County Communications Director Rod Antone confirmed on May 14 there was an investigation involving Agsalog, but said he couldn’t comment on specific allegations.
“It is done,” Antone said of the investigation. “It was concluded last week.”
An individual claiming to have considerable knowledge of the investigation first alerted MauiTime to the investigation. That individual and another county staffer with knowledge of the investigation said it involved Agsalog “yelling” and “swearing” at Jeremiah Savage, the Deputy Director of Finance, and pounding on a desk back in back in April.
“It was two guys not getting along,” one of the sources said. “Savage felt threatened.”
Antone said because it was a personnel matter and he would not comment on specific allegations. “The county is like any other workplace,” he said. “People say things they don’t mean sometimes, and sometimes these need to be investigated.”
Antone did confirm that, in a highly unusual move, Savage was moved out of the Department of Finance and into the Mayor’s Office itself. “As of right now, he’s still there,” Antone said on May 14.
Agsalog also would not comment on the matter. “It’s a personnel matter, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to comment,” he said on May 14. Savage didn’t return a phone call asking for comment.
When asked if the investigation would result in any corrective action, Antone said yes, though he would not elaborate on what action that might be, or what may happen to Agsalog. “There were recommendations,” was all he would say.
One individual at the county with knowledge of the investigation did say that while the investigation didn’t conclude that the allegations reached the level of “harassment,” it did find that the yelling and desk pounding should not have occurred. “There will be some fallout,” the source said.
Both sources, who requested anonymity because they couldn’t publicly discuss personnel matters, said the Maui County Corporation Counsel’s office conducted the investigation. Antone would only say that it was carried out “by an unbiased third party, as is policy” and Corporation Counsel Patrick Wong didn’t return a phone call asking for comment.
Antone added that none of the allegations against Agsalog had anything to do with finance. “Bottom line, this is not affecting public service,” Antone said. He also wouldn’t say how many people complained against Agsalog in the first place, beyond that there were “not several complaints.”
Agsalog has significant previous public service dating back nearly a decade, though his resume is rather unique. After moving to Maui from the Philippines in 1979, he reportedly found work as a restaurant dishwasher and as a stockboy in a supermarket. After enlisting in the US Air Force and later the Air National Guard, he eventually got a job as loan fund manager for Maui Economic Opportunity’s Microenterprise Program, and later, as Budget Director during current Mayor Alan Arakawa’s first administration.
He held that job for two years, then in January 2005 took over as head of the county’s Civil Defense office. Though he told The Maui News at the time that the job was his “calling,” he held it for just two weeks before flying to Oahu to take over as then-Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s Emergency Services Department Director, which he held for a number of years. When Arakawa won reelection in 2010, he nominated Agsalog to be Finance Department Director.
Antone added that when Mayor Alan Arakawa first entered office in 2010, one of the first act was to institute a “policy of professionalism. No matter your rank, he’s serious about that.”
That policy includes the following language: “[W]e must emphasize our commitment to conducting ourselves with the highest standards of professional conduct. As representatives of our administration and the county, we are all expected and required to conduct ourselves professionally both in and out of the office. Failure to act accordingly will receive immediate attention, including any appropriate disciplinary action.”