Hawaii Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs

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Hawaii Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
General information
Office Type:  Nonpartisan
Office website:  Official Link
2012-2013 FY Budget:  $50,587,000
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years coterminous with the governor
Authority:  Hawaii Revised Statutes, 26-9
Selection Method:  Appointed by the governor
Current Officeholder
Name:  Catherine Awakuni Colón
Assumed office:  January 1, 2015
Compensation:  $133,536
Other Hawaii Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorAttorney GeneralDirector of FinanceAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerDirector of Commerce and Consumer AffairsChairperson of Land and Natural ResourcesDirector of Labor and Industrial RelationsPublic Utilities Commission
The Hawaii Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs is a state executive position in the Hawaii state government. The director heads the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, an agglomeration of 12 state divisions and offices concerned with the registration and regulation of business in the state. The department also performs a variety of consumer advocacy and protection roles, oversees professional and vocational licensing and investigates and prosecutes complaints against regulated industries.[1]

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs contains the Division of Insurance; as such, the director supervises and appoints the Hawaii Commissioner of Insurance and has ultimate responsibility for regulation of the state's insurance industry.[2]

Current officeholder

The current Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs is Catherine Awakuni Colón. She was appointed by Gov. David Ige in December 2014 and assumed office in January 2015. Colón previously served as the administrator of the department's Cable Television Division.[3]


The office of director is established by state law.[4]

Hawaii Revised Statutes, 26-9

(a) The department of commerce and consumer affairs shall be headed by a single executive to be known as the director of commerce and consumer affairs.


Like all state "principal department" heads, the director must be a U.S. citizen and a resident of Hawaii for at least a year before his appointment.

Hawaii Constitution, Article V, Section 6

Every officer appointed under the provisions of this section shall be a citizen of the United States and shall have been a resident of this State for at least one year immediately preceding that person's appointment, except that this residency requirement shall not apply to the president of the University of Hawaii.


As the head of a principal executive department, the director is appointed by the governor with the consent of the Hawaii Senate. The appointee holds office for a term concurrent with that of the governor, who may also remove him from office at any time.

Hawaii Constitution, Article V, Section 6

Each principal department shall be under the supervision of the governor and, unless otherwise provided in this constitution or by law, shall be headed by a single executive. Such single executive shall be nominated and, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, appointed by the governor. That person shall hold office for a term to expire at the end of the term for which the governor was elected, unless sooner removed by the governor; except that the removal of the chief legal officer of the State shall be subject to the advice and consent of the senate.

Term limits

There are no term limits associated with the office of director of finance.


If a vacancy occurs, the governor appoints a replacement with the consent of the state Senate. If the Senate is out of session when the vacancy occurs, the governor may appoint a temporary replacement to exercise the powers of attorney general until the legislature reconvenes. Details of vacancy appointments for cabinet-level state executive officers are laid out in Article V, Section 6 of the Hawaii Constitution.


The director oversees the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, the Hawaii agency concerned with the registration and regulation of business in the state. The department also performs various duties related to consumer advocacy and protection and licenses various professions and vocations. The department's divisions of cable television, financial institutions and insurance have specific regulatory responsibility for those industries.


  • Office of Administrative Hearings
  • Business Registration
    • Securities Compliance
    • Securities Enforcement
  • Cable Television
  • Consumer Advocacy
  • Consumer Protection
  • Financial Institutions
  • Insurance
    • Captive Insurance
  • Professional and Vocational Licensing
    • Real Estate
  • Regulated Industries Complaints
    • Consumer Resource Center
    • State Certified Arbitration Program[5]

State budget

See also: Hawaii state budget and finances

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs' budget for fiscal year 2012-2013 was $50,587,000.[6]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers

The salaries of elected and appointed executives in Hawaii are determined by the Hawaii Commission on Salaries, which was established by constitutional amendment in 2006. Passage of this amendment by the public added the following language to Article XVI of the state constitution:

Article XVI, Section 3.5 of the Hawaii Constitution

Text of Section 3.5:

There shall be a commission on salaries as provided by law, which shall review and recommend salaries for the justices and judges of all state courts, members of the legislature, department heads or executive officers of the executive departments and the deputies or assistants to department heads of the executive departments as provided by law, excluding the University of Hawaii and the department of education. The commission shall also review and make recommendations for the salary of the administrative director of the State or equivalent position and the salary of the governor and the lieutenant governor.

Any salary established pursuant to this section shall not be decreased during a term of office, unless by general law applying to all salaried officers of the State.

Not later than the fortieth legislative day of the 2007 regular legislative session and every six years thereafter, the commission shall submit to the legislature its recommendations and then dissolve.

The recommended salaries submitted shall become effective as provided in the recommendation, unless the legislature disapproves the entire recommendation as a whole by adoption of a concurrent resolution prior to adjournment sine die of the legislative session in which the recommendation is submitted; provided that any change in salary which becomes effective shall not apply to the legislature to which the recommendation for the change in salary was submitted.[7]

The commission consists of seven members selected by the governor (two seats), the President of the Hawaii State Senate (two seats), Speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives (two seats) and the Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court (one seat). Commissioners meet every six years to evaluate salaries for executive, judicial and legislative officials. Their recommendations go into effect unless the Hawaii State Legislature votes to reject the entirety of the commission's final report. The commission last met in November 2012 and made recommendations for official salaries between 2013 and 2018.[8]


In 2014, the director received a salary of $133,536, according to the Council of State Governments.[9]


In 2013, the director received a salary of $108,972. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.[10]


In 2010, the director received a salary of $108,972.[11]

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Contact info

335 Merchant Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
E-mail: dcca@dcca.hawaii.gov
Phone: (808) 587-1234

See also

External links