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MINUTES

ETHICS COMMISSION

CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU

 

 

Date and Place:            June 22, 2004

                                    Standard Financial Plaza

                                    Conference Room, Suite 211

 

Present:                        Robin D. Liu, Chair

                                    Lex R. Smith, Vice Chair

                                    Susan S. Heitzman

                                    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 376th  meeting of the Ethics Commission (Commission or EC) was called to order at 11:50 a.m. by the Chair.

 

II.                 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE OPEN SESSION OF THE MAY 18, 2004 OPEN MEETING

 

The minutes of the open meeting of May 18, 2004, were unanimously approved.

 

III.       OLD BUSINESS

 

A.        Setting the date(s) and time(s) of the July and August meetings

 

            The EC scheduled meetings for July 20, 2004, at 11:30 a.m., and August 24, 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 open session memorandum of June 15, 2004.

 

B.                 Report regarding the Commissionís Revised Guidelines on Campaign Activities and Revised Guidelines on Gifts

 

           The EDLC reported that the Revised Guidelines on Campaign Activities and the Revised Guidelines on Gifts were approved by the Managing Directorís Office (MDO) for distribution and were distributed to the various departments with a memorandum asking them to inform their officers and employees of the guidelines.  Both of the new versions of the guidelines have been posted on the EC web site.

 

C.        News from COGEL

 

            The EDLC reported that the COGEL Conference is scheduled for December 2, 2004 thru December 5, 2004 in San Francisco, CA.  The EDLC reported that pending the approval of the budget, it appears that there should be sufficient funds to send 2 or 3 Commissioners to the COGEL Conference, depending on the cost. 

 

            The EDLC reported that he has been selected to be a member of COGELís Model Laws Committee. 

 

D.                 Mandatory ethics training

 

            The EDLC reported that the next mandatory ethics training session will be held on August 3, 2004, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., at the Department of Human Resources conference room.

 

           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 May 18, 2004 meeting

 

The minutes of the executive session of May 18, 2004 were unanimously approved.

 

B.                 Further report and recommendation regarding whether certain city officers and employees violated RCH ßß 11-102(c) (financial interest that is incompatible with or may impair discharge of official duties) and/or 11-104 (fair and equal treatment policy), EC Nos. 03-237 (o) and 03-98 (w)

 

Matt Viola, Esq. directed the ECís attention to draft Advisory Opinion No. 2004-7.  Mr. Viola reported that the opinion was based upon the comments made by the Commissioners in the May 18, meeting. 

 

            After reviewing the draft of Advisory Opinion No. 2004-7, the EC moved, seconded and unanimously carried to approve Advisory Opinion No. 2004-7, as drafted.

 

C.                 Report and recommendation regarding request for information and Commission position as to civil fines from Councilmember Romy Cachola, EC No. 04-050(w)

 

            The EDLC reported that Councilmember Cachola asks for the Commissionís position on bringing the question of civil fines to the voters in the November ballot. 

 

The EDLC reported that the staff recommends:

 

(1)   CD1 of the Resolution should be placed on the November ballot;

(2)   The imposition of civil fines should apply to both City officers and employees;

(3)   The cost of an administrative fine process would be between $30,000 and $60,000 annually for the Commission;

(4)   Issues such as the impact of the civil fine law on existing collective bargaining agreements may be addressed in the enacting ordinance; and

(5)   Staff provide other information and positions requested in Councilmember Cacholaís letter.

            After discussion, the EC moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to adopt the staff recommendation with regards to Councilmember Cacholaís request. 

 

D.                 Report and recommendation regarding a third-party request for advice whether city officers violated the gift laws or the fair and equal treatment policy by soliciting contributions from private businesses on behalf of a city project where the contributions were paid to a city vendor, EC No. 04-029 (w)

 

The EDLC directed the Commissionís attention to draft Advisory Opinion No. 2004-8 for the Commissionís determination.  The EDLC reported that the draft opinion concludes that: (1) there was no ethics violation because the city personnel involved did not receive any personal benefit, and (2) soliciting the contributions is analogous to seeking a gift to a department, which is generally allowed under the Revised Guidelines on Gifts.

 

            After discussion, the EC moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to approve Advisory Opinion No. 2004-8, as drafted. 

 

             E.         Report regarding reallocation of Legal Clerk position

           

            Commissioner Fishman reported that he is still assessing the current status of the situation. He recommended that the Commission present its position for a pay raise for the Legal Clerk to Corporation Counsel in three or four months time.

 

            The EC moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to return to the open session.

 

VI.       ADJOURNMENT

           

The EC moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting.  The meeting was adjourned at 12:21 p.m.

Last Reviewed: Friday, August 27, 2004