CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU
Date and Place: March 22, 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, Esq., Staff Attorney
Stenographer: Norm Fisher
I. CALL TO ORDER
The 373rd meeting of the Ethics Commission (Commission or EC) was called to order at 12:36 p.m. by the Chair.
II. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE OPEN SESSION OF THE
FEBRUARY 23, 2004 OPEN MEETING
The minutes of the open meeting of February 23, 2004, were unanimously approved.
III. OLD BUSINESS
A. Setting the date(s) and time(s) of the April and May meetings
The EC scheduled the meetings for April 13, 2004, at 11:30 a.m., and May 18, 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 March 16, 2004.
The EDLC stated that he held the first community business training regarding government ethics.
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 February 23, 2004 meeting
The minutes of the executive session of February 23, 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 reported that, during election seasons, the Commission staff is frequently asked whether it is permissible for city officers or employees to identify their city position or title when endorsing a political candidate. The EDLC stated that the potential problem arises when applying these or similar facts to the fair and equal treatment policy, RCH Sec. 11-104, which prohibits an officer or employee from using his or her city position to obtain special treatment for any person.
The EDLC stated that the Commission's Revised Guidelines on Campaign Activities are silent on the issue. The EDLC referred the EC to a memorandum from staff attorney, Matt Viola, which reviewed and made a recommendation on the issue.
After discussing the issue, the EC directed the EC staff to draft amendments to the Commission's Revised Guidelines on Campaign Activities that would permit a City officer or employee to state his/her City title or position in a political endorsement as long as a reasonable person would not infer that the City or one of its agencies is endorsing the candidate.
C. Request for a resolution from the Commission to subpoena a city employee who may have violated RCH Sec. 11-104 by using city resources for private consulting and who may have information regarding similar violations by other city employees or officers
After reviewing the resolution and discussing all the issues, it was moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to issue the subpoena to the city employee to appear and be interviewed and produce documents regarding this matter.
It was moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to return to the open session.
The meeting was adjourned at 2:51 p.m.