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Government in Hawaii is composed of State Government, with its capital in Honolulu, and four County governments – the city and county of Honolulu and the counties of Kauai, Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii. The entire Big Island of Hawaii is under County government jurisdiction; no formal government exists at a city, municipal or town level. The county seat for the Big Island is located in Hilo on the East side of the Island with various county departments – police, fire, licensing, building permits, planning and so on – providing services at offices and locations throughout West Hawaii.
An elected mayor and county council lead Hawaii County government; a county prosecuting attorney is also elected. All other offices are appointive. The mayor – currently Billy Kenoi who was elected in 2008 – is elected to a four-year term and is responsible for overseeing the various county departments through a managing director and deputy managing director.
There are seven major county departments: Finance, Planning, Research and Development, Public Works, Parks & Recreation, Data Systems, Environmental Management as well as the semi-autonomous Department of Water Supply. Appointed commissions control the departments of police, fire, liquor control and civil service. Other offices/agencies include Housing and Community Development, Aging, Mass Transit and Civil Defense.
The mayor annually submits an operating budget to the County Council for approval and has veto power of legislation coming from the council. Council members create legislation for the county and are elected at large every two years from nine districts around the Big Island. West Hawaii is currently represented by four councilpersons – Brittany Smart (South Kona), Brenda Ford (North/South Kona), K. Angel Pilago (North Kona) and Pete Hoffmann (North/South Kohala).