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MINUTES

ETHICS COMMISSION

CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU

 

Date and Place:            May 18, 2004

                                    Standard Financial Plaza

                                    Conference Room, Suite 211

 

Present:                        Robin D. Liu, Chair

                                    Lex R. Smith, Vice Chair

                                    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 375th  meeting of the Ethics Commission (Commission or EC) was called to order at 12:00 p.m. by the Chair.

 

II.                 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE OPEN SESSION OF THE
            APRIL 13, 2004 OPEN MEETING

 

The minutes of the open meeting of April 13, 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 June 22, 2004, at 11:30 a.m., and July 20, 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 May 12, 2004.

 

B.                 Report regarding the Commission’s Revised Guidelines on Campaign Activities and Revised Guidelines on Gifts

 

            The EDLC reported that the EC received approval from the Managing Director’s Office (MDO) for distribution of the Revised Guidelines on Campaign Activities, and will send a memorandum to the various departments asking them to inform their officers and employees of the guidelines.  The EC still has not received approval for distribution of the Revised Guidelines on Gifts from the MDO, and would contact them to inquired about the guidelines’ status.

 

C.       Status of new commissioners

 

          The EDLC reported that he spoke to Vicki Borges of the Mayor’s office about two weeks ago.  Ms. Borges informed the EDLC that she would be meeting with the Mayor, and one of the items would be new members for the EC. 

 

           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 April 13, 2004 meeting

 

The minutes of the executive session of April 13, 2004 were unanimously approved.

 

B.                 Report and recommendation regarding a third-party request for advice whether a councilmember violated RCH § 11-103 by failing to file a written disclosure of interest prior to voting in Council, EC No. 03-099 (w)

 

The Commission determined that the failure of a city officer to disclose a conflict of interest before voting violated RCH Sec. 11-103, but did not invalidate the vote on the matter because there were sufficient votes for passage even disallowing the officer's vote. Because the EC determined that the failure to disclose the conflict of interest was an oversight in this case, the officer should be reminded of her obligation to disclose a conflict of interest before voting on a matter. With regard to questions of federal law, the Commission determined that the requestor should ask the relevant federal agency and/or Corporation Counsel for advice.

 

C.                 Further report and recommendation regarding whether certain city officers and employees violated RCH §§ 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)

 

The EC found that city officers and employees who were pictured in a newspaper feature wearing certain products and identified by their city position did not violate the fair and equal treatment policy because the officers and employees neither knew nor should have known that the feature would be used to advertise the products.

 

D.                 Report and recommendation regarding whether a city employee, who is also an attorney, may represent city officers or employees in criminal cases, in collective bargaining negotiations, arbitrations or in grievance proceedings without violating RCH § 11-102(e) and ROH § 3-8.2(c) (city personnel may not represent private interests in proceedings against the interest of the city or before any city agency), EC No. 04-025 (w)

 

             After discussion the EC moved, seconded and unanimously carried that a city employee who is also a practicing attorney may represent criminal defendants who have been charged with offenses under the state penal laws because the proceedings are not against the interests of the city. The city employee, however, may not represent defendants charged with offenses under city laws because these proceedings are against the interest of the city. In addition, state law allows the city employee to represent his union and its members in collective bargaining agreement negotiations, arbitrations, and grievance proceedings, even though such proceedings are against the interests of the city.

            E.         Report regarding reallocation of Legal Clerk position

 

            Commissioner Fishman volunteered to discuss this matter with COR and DHR personnel and report to the Commission at the next meeting.

 

VI.       ADJOURNMENT

 

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

Last Reviewed: Friday, August 27, 2004