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MINUTES

ETHICS COMMISSION

CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU

 

 

Date and Place:            April 25, 2007

                                    Standard Financial Plaza

                                    Conference Room, Suite 211

 

Present:                        Lex Smith, Chair

Raymond H. Fujii, Vice Chair

                                    Susan S. Heitzman

                                    Matthew K. Kobayashi

                                    Cynthia M. Bond

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

Stenographer:               Norm Fisher

 

(NOTE:  Mr. Don Iseke and his Union Representative, Lee Y. Matsui, were present for item V.C only)

 

I.          CALL TO ORDER

 

            The 404th meeting of the Ethics Commission (Commission or EC) was called to order at 11:40 p.m. by the Chair.

 

II.                 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE OPEN SESSION OF THE

FEBRUARY 22, 2007 MEETING

 

            The minutes of the open meeting of February 22, 2007 were unanimously approved.

 

III.       OLD BUSINESS

 

A.        Setting the date and time of the next regular meeting for May, 2007 and setting the date and time for the June, 2007 meeting

            The EC scheduled the date for the May 9, 2007 meeting at 11:30 a.m. and set the date and time for the June 4, 2007 meeting 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 memorandum dated April 20, 2007 outlining the number of cases pending and the ethics training conducted to date in fiscal year 2007.  

 

B.                 Report regarding Senate Bill No. 755

           

            The EDLC reported that SB 755 would require that county ethics commissioners be appointed from a list of nominees selected by an independent body and would not be subject to confirmation by the Council.

 

            The EDLC stated that the city has not taken a position on the bill.

 

C.                 Report regarding those who failed to file their 2006 financial disclosure statements

The EDLC reported that pursuant to Section 3-8.4 (a), Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, all required officers and employees have submitted their Financial Disclosure forms for the year 2006.

 

D.       Report regarding a proposed ordinance to establish the process by which the Commission may

           impose civil fines on elected officers who violate the ethics laws

 

The EDLC reported that he and Commissioner Hikida met with Council Chair Barbara Marshall regarding the proposed bill.  Chair Marshallís major concern was that the bill should state how long an elected officer could be held responsible under the law for past misconduct, i.e., a statute of limitations.  The EDLC informed Chair Marshall that the EC would have no problem with stating a 6-year statute of limitations.  The EDLC and the ECís private counsel, Matt Viola, will work on the language regarding the statute of limitations, and then provide a draft for review by the Corporation Counsel.

 

E.         Report regarding the processing of employees complaints.

 

The EDLC reported the Integrity Hotline Administrative Directive was drafted by the EDLC, Mike Hansen, the Chief of Internal Audit at BFS, Denise Tsukayama, the Equal Employment Officer from DHR, with input from several other agencies.  The Hotline provides a professional interview service for employees who want to submit a complaint in any of the areas of ethics, fraud, waste, abuse, discrimination, sexual harassment, employee relations, public health and safety, etc.  The Hotline is intended as a pilot project over FY08. 

 

The EDLC stated that the Mayor and the Managing Director are in support of the program.  The unions, cabinet and administrative service officers will be informed and permitted to offer feedback before the roll out of the Hotline.  If the Hotline increases the effectiveness of the cityís response to claims of employee misconduct, it will be rolled out to the public and city vendors.

 

F.         Elections of officers

 

The EC decided to defer this topic until the next meeting.

 

V.        EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY

                                         

                              A.        Approval of the minutes of the executive session of the February 22, 2007 meeting

The minutes of the executive session of February 22, 2007 were unanimously approved. 

 

B.         Report and recommendation regarding possible violations of RCH Sec. 11-104 (use of city position for benefit of an outside employer) and RCH Sec. 11-103 (failure to file a written disclosure of conflict of interest) by a city officer, EC No. 06-020(w)

 

            The EDLC reported that the Ethics Commission received a complaint alleging that a city officer violated the ethics laws RCH Sec. 11-104 (use of city position for benefit of an outside employer) and RCH Sec. 11-103 (failure to file a written disclosure of conflict of interest).  

 

The EDLC stated that, based on his investigation, he recommends that the EC find that there is insufficient evidence to show probable cause that the city officer violated RCH Sec. 11-104.

Regarding the alleged violation of RCH Sec. 11-103, the EDLC stated that each officer and employee is required to file a full written disclosure whenever he/she has an interest that might reasonably tend to create a conflict with the public interest.  This city officer is permitted to participate in the decision making process on the matter that raises the conflict, but only once the written disclosure has been filed. The city officer may not vote on any matter for which he/she has not filed the disclosure.

The EDLC stated that the city officer voted on the matter raising the conflict, but did not timely file a written Disclosure of Interest Statement, and only did so when asked by another city officer.

The EDLC stated that, therefore, there is probable cause that the city officer violated RCH Sec. 11-103 by failing to timely file his written disclosure, and recommended that the EC send the city officer a confidential Notice of Possible Violation of the Standards of Conduct to which he may respond.

 

Upon discussing the matter, the EC moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to accept staff recommendations and instructed staff to issue a Notice of Possible Violation of RCH Sec. 11-103 to the city officer to which he may respond.

 

C.        Report and recommendation regarding possible violation of RCH Sec. 11-104 (misuse of city resources) by a city officer, EC No. 06-114(w)


             This matter is reported by Matt Viola, private counsel for the Commission.  Mr. Viola reported that the Commission received a complaint from a city employee alleging that a city officer violated the cityís ethics law RCH Sec. 11-104.  

 

             The complainant was permitted to make written and oral comments to the Commission regarding this case.

 

            Mr. Viola stated that as a result of his investigation, he and the EDLC recommend that the Commission find that there is no probable cause that the city official committed an ethics violation.

 

Upon discussing the issue and considering the comments of the complainant and the report by Mr. Viola, the Commission moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to adopt the recommendation of staff finding that there is no probable cause that the city officer committed an ethics violation.  The complainant and respondent will be so notified.

 

D.                 Annual job performance review for Executive Director/Legal Counsel

 

            The Commission will present its evaluation regarding the EDLC at the 6/4/07 EC meeting.

 

VI.       ADJOURNMENT

           

            The EC moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting.  The meeting was adjourned at 12:50 p.m.

 

Last Reviewed: Monday, November 08, 2010