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MINUTES

ETHICS COMMISSION

CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU

 

Date and Place:            March 14, 2006

                                    Standard Financial Plaza

                                    Conference Room, Suite 211

 

Present:                        Lex R. Smith

Raymond H. Fujii

                                    Susan S. Heitzman

                                    Wayne T. Hikida

                                    Cynthia M. Bond

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

Stenographer:               Norm Fisher 

 

I.          CALL TO ORDER

 

            The 394th meeting of the Ethics Commission (Commission or EC) was called to order at 11:35 a.m. by the Chair.

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

FEBRUARY 16, 2006 OPEN MEETING

            The minutes of the open meeting of February 16, 2006, were unanimously approved.

 

 III.       OLD BUSINESS

A.        Confirming the date and time of the April 18, 2006 meeting and setting the date and time for the
            May, 2006 meeting

             The EC confirmed the April 18, 2006 at 11:30 a.m. meeting, and set the date and time for the May 16, 2006 at 11:30 a.m. meeting 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 March 10, 2006, outlining the ethics training conducted to date in fiscal year 2006.  

  B.           Report and recommendation regarding Guidelines for Gifts to the City

          The EDLC reported that city officers and employees frequently ask the Commission whether it is proper to accept (and in some cases solicit) gifts to a city agency.  Such questions arise when a vendor is willing to pay for a site visit for those employees who select contractors or for training for those who use the vendorís products. The EDLC stated that this month, the Council passed Resolution No. 05-349, which sets out some standards for and processes by which agencies may solicit, accept and spend gifts to the city.

 

The EDLC reported that gifts to the city must be distinguished from personal gifts to an officer or employee.  Personal gifts are covered under the Commissionís Guidelines on Gifts, revised June 21, 2004.  Two older Commission guidelines describe the standards applied when gifts of a personal benefit are made as a result of city work paid for by private entities. 

 

The EDLC stated that the proposed Guidelines on Gifts to City Agencies is intended to incorporate the best practices from the older guidelines.  The proposed Guidelines explain: (1) the restrictions on solicitations for gifts to the city, (2) the requirements that ensure a gift may be accepted by the agency, and (3) the steps needed to avoid a violation of the ethics laws.

 

 The EDLC stated that between the proposed guidelines and the Guidelines on Gifts, the limitations on solicitation and acceptance of gifts will be defined and clarified for city personnel.

 

Chair Smith recommended removing the examples of personal gifts resulting from gifts to the city in the proposed Guidelines and referring to the Guidelines on Gifts.

 

Upon discussion, the Commission moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to adopt the proposed Guidelines on Gifts to City Agencies with Chair Smithís recommendations.

 

The EC moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to go to the executive session.

 

V.        EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY

 

A.        Approval of the minutes of the executive session of the February 16, 2006 meeting

The minutes of the executive session of February 16, 2006 were unanimously approved.

 

B.        Report and recommendation regarding whether a former city employee would violate RCH Section 11-102(b) (prohibition against disclosing confidential information) by disclosing confidential information obtained in the course of employment; EC No. 05-159(w)

 

            The EDLC reported that this matter was briefed and discussed at last monthís meeting, and continued to the March 14 meeting for further discussion and decision-making.

 

            Upon discussion, the EC requested staff to prepare another draft advisory for review at the next meeting.

 

            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 12:30 p.m.

 

Last Reviewed: Wednesday, April 19, 2006