Official website of the City and County of Honolulu
 
  You are here:  Main / Ethics Commission / Meeting Information / april2004minutes
 
 

MINUTES

ETHICS COMMISSION

CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU

 

Date and Place:            April 13, 2004

                                    Standard Financial Plaza

                                    Conference Room, Suite 211

 

Present:                        Robin D. Liu, Chair

                                    Lex R. Smith, Vice Chair

                                    Lolinda D. Ramos

                                    Raymond H. Fujii

                                    Robert J. Fishman

                                    Charles W. Totto, Executive Director and Legal Counsel (EDLC)

                                    Matthew J. Viola, Staff Attorney

Stenographer:               Norm Fisher 

 

I.          CALL TO ORDER

            The 374th  meeting of the Ethics Commission (Commission or EC) was called to order at 11:45 p.m. by the Chair.

II.                 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE OPEN SESSION OF THE MARCH
22, 2004 OPEN MEETING

            The minutes of the open meeting of March 22, 2004, were unanimously approved.

 

III.       OLD BUSINESS

 

A.       Setting the date(s) and time(s) of the May and June meetings

 

            The EC scheduled the meetings for May 18, 2004, at 11:30 a.m., and June 22, 2004 at 11:30 a.m. in the Standard Financial Plaza Conference Room, Suite 211.

IV.       NEW BUSINESS

           A.        Administrative news

           The Executive Director and Legal Counsel (EDLC) referred to his report on opinions, and the Commission’s website in his memorandum of April 7, 2004.

B.                 Report and recommendation regarding a proposed change to the Commission’s Revised Guidelines on Campaign Activities to clarify when a city officer or employee may use his or her city title or position in endorsing a political candidate

 

            The EDLC referred to his memorandum of April 7, 2004, which contained a staff report and recommendation regarding proposed language to the current guidelines to clarify the extend to which a city officer or employee may use his or her city position to support a candidate.  The EDLC recommended that the following language be added to the current guidelines:

No City officer or employee may:

 

6.  Make a political endorsement that gives a special advantage to a political candidate or campaign or that may reasonably be interpreted as an official endorsement by the City or one of its agencies.  In most cases, the mere identification of a City officer’s or employee’s official title or position, without more, will not be prohibited.  However, endorsements that go beyond the mere identification of one’s title or position, such as using pictures of the endorser in an official uniform or showing City facilities or equipment, are likely to imply an official endorsement by the City and would be prohibited.

 

            After reviewing the language and discussing the issue, the EC revised the proposed language to read as follows:

No City officer or employee may:

 

6.  Make a political endorsement that gives a special advantage to a political candidate or campaign or that may reasonably be interpreted as an official endorsement by the City or one of its agencies.  In most cases, the mere identification of a City officer’s or employee’s official title or position, without more, will not be prohibited.  However, endorsements that go beyond the mere identification of one’s title or position, such as use of an official uniform in connection with campaign activities would likely be prohibited.

 

            It was moved, seconded, and unanimously carried that the amended language be added to the current Revised Guidelines on Campaign Activities.

C.                Election of officers

            After receiving nominations, it was moved, seconded, and unanimously carried that Commissioner Liu serve as Chair and Commissioner Smith serve as Vice Chair for an additional term of 1 year, expiring in April 2005.

            It was moved, seconded and unanimously carried to move into executive session to pursue confidential matters and seek the advice of its attorney.

V.        EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY

A.        Approval of the minutes of the executive session of the March 22, 2004 meeting

The minutes of the executive session of March 22, 2004 were unanimously approved.

 

B.                 Report and recommendation regarding a request for advice whether a city officer or employee may state his or her city title or position when privately endorsing a political candidate without violating RCH Sec. 11-104 (fair and equal treatment policy), EC No. 03-134 (o)

 

            The EDLC recommended that the EC prepare an advisory opinion to express the EC’s rationale in balancing an employee’s right to free speech with the need to avoid using a city position to provide special treatment to a candidate.

            It was moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to accept the recommendation of the EDLC.

            It was moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to return to the open session.

VI.       ADJOURNMENT

            It was moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting.  The meeting was adjourned at 12:20 p.m.


Last Reviewed: Wednesday, May 26, 2004