The state is rolling out payroll modernization to departments in three groups.

The State of Hawaii’s Enterprise Payroll Modernization project is one of the state’s most ambitious initiatives. Led by the Department of Accounting and General Services’ Accounting Division, in partnership with the Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS), the project is known as the “HawaiiPay” project for short and aims to modernize payroll systems to provide greater functionality and efficiencies in serving more than 75,000 full- and part-time employees statewide, according to ETS.


THG recently checked in with the project to get an update:


Why is it important to modernize the state’s payroll system?

The HawaiiPay project is helping the state to replace its mainframe payroll system that is more than 50 years old with a single integrated software system called PeopleSoft. The new payroll system will enable payroll offices of state jurisdictions, departments and agencies to reduce the manual, paper-intensive process by using a modern online application. For employees, it means they will be able to access Online Payroll Employee Self Service functionality to:

  • Access pay statements
  • Update payroll address
  • Update federal and state tax forms
  • Manage direct deposit accounts


Are there any benefits to tax-payers?

The HawaiiPay project represents a significant opportunity to further transform the culture of government to embrace and accelerate the adoption of more efficient, less paper-dependent ways of doing business.


Are retired employees affected by this new system?

No, retirees receive their pension through the State of Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System (ERS). The ERS is completely separate from the state employee payroll system. As a retiree, an individual’s direct deposit information does not need to be updated or reentered as a result of the implementation of the new payroll system.


Who is involved in the HawaiiPay project?

The HawaiiPay project team is comprised of state resources working closely together with consultants from CherryRoad Technologies and Pacxa. The new payroll system will cover more than 75,000 employees statewide from all branches of Hawaii state government: Executive (including the Department of Education, University of Hawaii, and Hawaii Health Systems Corporation), Judiciary and Legislative, as well as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.


As processes are modernized, does that mean people will lose their jobs?

No. There are no plans to reduce the workforce. Some job functions may be slightly modified to align with updated business processes inherent in the new software, providing enhanced tools and functionality for employees.


What has been accomplished to-date?

The state announced in May that it had rolled out the new system to the first of three groups of departments and agencies. Group 1 consisted of the Department of Accounting and General Services and the Department of Human Resources Development.

The second group will begin migration to the new system beginning in July, with the first payroll payments dispersed on the new system in August. Group 2 consists of employees in the Judiciary, Legislature, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and several Executive Branch departments including: the Departments of Agriculture; Attorney General; Budget and Finance; Business, Economic Development and Tourism; Commerce and Consumer Affairs; Defense; Hawaiian Home Lands; Health; Human Services; Labor and Industrial Relations; Land and Natural Resources; Public Safety; Taxation; and Transportation. Also in Group 2 are the Offices of the Governor and Lt. Governor, Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, and Hawaii State Public Library System.


Group 3, which currently includes the Department of Education (the largest department by number of employees) and the University of Hawaii, are scheduled for migration is scheduled for later this year.

Upon completion of all groups, plans are to begin modernization of time and attendance systems.


How can interested citizens stay up to date on the progress of the project?

Regular updates are provided via the project’s website:


While natural and man-made emergencies are largely out of our control, preparedness for when disaster does strike is a wise investment of time and resources. Take a few moments download or explore these government mobile apps and resources so you’ll be armed with the information resources before the eleventh hour.


Text-based notifications (Neighbor Islands)


HNL Info

For those based on Oahu, the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Emergency Management has the HNL Info app that integrates multiple agency information in one convenient platform. Besides information on Satellite City Halls and City sponsored events, the app also provides push notifications in various categories which may significantly impact the public including weather and disaster, fire as well as road closures and traffic. HNL Info is available here.






FEMA app

In addition to preparedness information and reminders, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s app offers customized alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations across the country. The FEMA app also features a Disaster Reporter where users can upload and share photos of damage and recovery efforts; plus an interface to access to apply for federal disaster assistance.

The Disaster Reporter functions as a crowdsourced set of disaster-related data. This useful information is overlaid onto a publicly accessible map where citizens, first responders, response and recovery teams and emergency managers can both view and contribute to the information as a natural emergency progresses.




Hurricane by Red Cross

While this app is not made by the government, the Red Cross offers a multitude of emergency preparedness support. The most prominent disaster relief nonprofit offers its own Hurricane app which provides location-based hurricane alerts, Red Cross shelter locations, preparedness tips as well as an “I’m Safe” feature used to inform social media networks of a person’s safety status.

Check out their other useful apps for earthquakes, tornadoes, first aid, and first aid for pets.






Emergency Management Social Media Profiles

From the 2008 Sichuan Province earthquake in China to Hawaii’s own Kilauea eruption, social media is here to stay as a method of connection in times of disaster. Follow your local emergency management agency on social for reliable information.

Hawaiʻi Island
Facebook: Hawaii County Civil Defense

Twitter:  @MauiEmergAgency Instagram: Maui_EMA Facebook: MauiEMA

City and County of Honolulu – Department of Emergency Management
Twitter: @Oahu_DEM Facebook: OahuDEM

County of Kauaʻi – Kauaʻi Emergency Management Agency

Transform Hawaii Government (THG) will launch its new speaker series in July, featuring officials and experts from Hawaii and beyond discussing current topics relating to transforming government.

THG coalition members are invited to save the date for the first event in the series, “Roadmap to Transparency: Explore the State of Hawaii’s Online IT Project Dashboard,” featuring State of Hawaii Chief Information Officer (CIO) Todd Nacapuy,” on July 25, 2018, at Impact Hub in Honolulu. The event is being presented in partnership with the CIO-led Office of Enterprise Technology Services, as well as legislators.

Nacapuy will share how the Hawaii Department Dashboard tracks more than 400 information technology (IT) projects across the state’s executive branch departments and agencies that account for nearly half a billion dollars in annual IT spend. Accessible through his office’s website (, the online resource was developed in accordance with 2016 legislation requiring executive branch departments to create and maintain multi-year IT strategic plans and roadmaps. Nacapuy and his team conducted extensive coordination with the various departments with the goal of creating a more accessible, cohesive and transparent dashboard for state and public use.

Watch for the event invitation in the coming days, as well as information on future THG Speaker Series events that cover topics ranging from modern elections and cybersecurity, to open data and broadband initiatives.

Equal network access to the internet is officially over. With the Supreme Court repeal in effect, Internet Service Providers (ISP) may now block certain apps and websites, throttle network speeds and use paid prioritization to give pay-to-play type access to rich content. These changes could mean we will soon start seeing ISPs bundling their services, with major companies at a potential detriment to smaller companies  similar in practice to cable companies. Read the full story on The New York Times.

Note: Several state governments including Hawaii set in motion ways to protect net-neutrality in their own locales. Our state has an Executive Order for all state departments to contract only with Internet Service Providers who adhere to net-neutrality principles. Read more here.

For federal government legacy IT systems, some of which are 50 years old, an upgrade has become a matter of national security. Caught between the age of international hacks, elections meddling, information breaches and an ever-growing demand for a constituent-centric experience, the White House enacted the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. The transformational mandate gives federal CIOs the incentive and resources to migrate their existing information infrastructure and services into more secure mobile apps, digital and cloud-based platforms. Read the full story on The Wall Street Journal

The 2018 legislative session may have adjourned, but the process for a bill to become law is far from over, as the governor has until July 10 to sign bills into law, veto bills, or allow them to become law without his signature.

As mentioned in the last THG newsletter, several pieces of priority legislation succeeded in being passed this year. The governor has until June 25 to decide whether to place any of the bills he has received from the Legislature on his Notice of Intent to Veto list. If a bill is not on the list by that date, the bill cannot be vetoed and will become law with or without the governor’s signature. The governor then has to July 10 to either veto the bill or let it become law.

Among the hundreds of bills awaiting action (or inaction) by the governor, here are the bills THG has been tracking:

  • HB2607, Relating to Education, requiring the Department of Education to develop and implement a statewide computer science curricula plan for public school students in K-12 and ensure each public high school offers at least one computer science course each school year.
  • HB2395, Relating to Electronic Filing, authorizing the Hawaii Department of Taxation to require certain taxpayers to file returns electronically, subject to exceptions for reasonable cause as provided by administrative rules.
  • HB2651, Relating to Wireless Broadband Facilities, establishing a process to upgrade and support next generation wireless broadband infrastructure throughout the State.
  • HB2373, Relating to the Sharing of Vital Statistics Records with Department of Health Program Employees for Approved Research Purposes, authorizing the Department of Health to disclose public health statistics records internally within the Department of Health for approved research purposes.

HCR 94, a concurrent resolution that does not require the governor’s signature, asks the state’s IT Steering Committee to submit a State Government IT Strategic Plan to the Legislature no later than 20 days prior to the convening of next session. Development of the plan is tasked to the IT Steering Committee and provides the opportunity to chart the course for further improving the delivery of programs and services to citizens, businesses and those working in state government.

HACC community partners take a photo with Gov. David Ige. Photo courtesy of the Office of Enterprise Technology Services.

Earlier this month, CIO Todd Nacapuy accepted’s State IT Innovation award on behalf of the Hawaii Annual Code Challenge (HACC). StateScoop annually honors outstanding state innovators, up-and-coming leaders as well as tech-based projects used to make the delivery of services more convenient to residents.

“As a proud sponsor of the 2017 Hawaii Annual Code Challenge, Transform Hawaii Government congratulates CIO Todd Nacapuy and his community co-partner Hawaii Open Data, for putting on the successful and innovative event, which provided the tech-minded development community with the opportunity to test their skills at coming up with creative solutions to government challenges,” said Christine Sakuda, THG executive director. “As a nonprofit coalition dedicated to promoting an open, transparent and responsive government, we recognize the ‘HACC’ as an outstanding example of how the state can engage the community in a meaningful way to streamline, integrate and deliver state services to meet and exceed the expectations of the public and Hawaii’s businesses, while helping to build Hawaii’s IT workforce.”

The State IT Innovation of the Year award recognizes win-win state government programs which bridge their constituent’s experience and makes efficient use of data integration for agencies. Hawaii’s hackathon joins notable programs from other states including Georgia Gateway, an integrated multi-program portal for human services; Utah’s Practice Driver License Program, an app to help drivers study for their driver’s license using smartphones and smart speakers like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home; and Mississippi’s state chatbot called MISSI which uses machine learning to connect inquiries to the proper services. See all winners here.

With more than 300 participants in its sophomore year, the HACC brought together Hawaii’s programming community, state departments and the local tech industry to solve real-world information challenges provided by participating agencies. The month-long competition fostered mentoring for burgeoning coders and created proof of concepts for an app used to navigate within UH Manoa, a grant data visualizer for OHA, and enabling natural language searchability and interpretation of Hawaii’s laws.

The HACC was possible through the collaboration between the State of Hawaii and participating community partners such as Hawaii Open Data, DevLeague, and THG.

Hawaii’s remote geographic location and limited talent pool – while nothing new – have compounded a decades-long hiring challenge for state government. After a highly successful pilot project initiated in 2016, the Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) continues its innovative use of the professional social networking site LinkedIn as a tool for attracting top talent.

Besides using the world’s largest social networking platform for business professionals, ETS also changed its paradigm to revamp its employee culture. View this video case study to discover how the agency leveraged LinkedIn to meet and surpass its hiring goals.

For more information, read LinkedIn’s Talent Blog: 4 Ways the Government of Hawaii Modernized its Hiring Process to Attract Tech Talent.

A transparency website is meant to provide the public easy access to information, but it isn’t always updated quickly.

By Courtney Teague

Honolulu Civil Beat — May 8, 2018

Original story:


A measure that would have required the state to publish the formulas used to calculate the financial impact of proposed bills died in the Legislature in the recently adjourned session.

That probably came as no surprise to public interest researchers who say the state government needs to be more open about its spending practices.

Hawaii is among the worst in the nation when it comes to being transparent about the way state government spends its money, according to a new study of state transparency sites.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund gave the Aloha State an F for transparency, two grades lower than the C it received in the last report two years ago. California, Alaska and Wyoming were the only states to score lower.

That’s because the state’s transparency webpage hasn’t updated its spending information since 2016, said Michelle Sirka, tax and budget campaigns director for the PIRG fund. The same is true for budget information on the webpage.

The report also found the webpage was glitch-prone and lacked a multi-tiered search function.

Gov. David Ige’s administration has made strides in improving government accessibility online — such as modernizing the state payroll and tax systems — but there’s more to be done, said Christine Mai‘i Sakuda, head of the nonprofit Transform Hawaii Government. The agency advocates for a more open and transparent government through technology.

Sakuda wondered whether the state has set a plan and priorities for updating information on its website. It’s not just the transparency webpage that contains outdated information, she said.

“Clearly the data not being up is a reflection of no one’s eyes are on that and thought that it was important enough to update, which is unfortunate and not acceptable,” Sakuda said.

Brian Black, head of the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, presented testimony on the issue at a meeting before the state’s Information Technology Steering Committee last week. Part of the committee’s role includes developing plans for and assessing state IT systems.

Black’s testimony, drafted after meeting with groups who support accessible data, suggested the state prioritize posting financial, tax and procurement data, plus certain data from the departments of Health, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, and Land and Natural Resources.

He recommended the state educate the public on available data and ensure it’s posted in a timely manner and machine readable format, meaning the file can be easily opened on a computer.

“Providing a central site for electronic data allows the public to find information efficiently,” Black wrote.

The state plans to follow those priorities when revamping its website, said Todd Nacapuy, head of the Office of Enterprise Technology Services, which oversees the transparency webpage.

The spending data won’t be posted to the transparency site in the immediate future, but Laurel Johnston, head of the Department of Budget and Finance, noted it is already posted to her department’s webpage.

“The data is there, it’s just maybe not the way that PIRG or others might want it so they can compare by state,” Johnston said.

The vendor that the Office of Enterprise Technology Services currently uses to host its data, Socrata, is expensive, Nacapuy said. A contract with a new vendor should be finalized within the next month and a half — that’s when the state will start work on posting the latest spending data to its transparency page.

U.S. PIRG wasn’t impressed with Hawaii’s site, but Nacapuy pointed to ETS’s Department Dashboard, which launched this year.

It breaks down a timeline of IT projects by state department and shows the cost, whether they’re on track and its project managers. The dashboard ensures accountability of the state’s IT projects, he said, adding that it’s the first such site in the nation.

Senate Bill 2257 would have required the Department of Taxation to make public the formulas used to calculate the financial impact of a bill. It died two weeks ago in conference committee, where lawmakers from both chambers attempt to work out differences.

The Tax Foundation of Hawaii wrote in testimony that the availability of information about those estimates was “spotty at best.”

“Having the information would be a great step toward openness and transparency in important legislative decisions,” the group wrote.

The Hawaii Community Foundation’s Omidyar Ohana Fund supports Transform Hawaii Government. Pierre Omidyar is the CEO and publisher of Civil Beat.

Additionally, The Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest is an independent organization created with funding from Pierre Omidyar. Civil Beat Editor Patti Epler sits on its board of directors.

Featured in THG’s January newsletter, the Hawaii Department Dashboard now has a new, more user-friendly look. A first of its kind in the nation, the dashboard tracks more than 400 IT projects across State of Hawaii departments and agencies that account for nearly half a billion dollars in annual IT spend, according to the Office of Enterprise Technology Services.


The dashboard is accessible to the public and can be found at The Hawaii Department Dashboard or by visiting and scrolling to the bottom of the webpage.