CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU
Date and Place: November 25, 2003
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, Esq., Staff Attorney
Stenographer: Norm Fisher
I. CALL TO ORDER
The 370th meeting of the Ethics Commission (Commission or EC) was called to order at 11:45 a.m. by the Chair.
II. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE OPEN SESSION OF THE
OCTOBER 28, 2003 OPEN MEETING
The minutes of the open meeting of October 28, 2003, were unanimously approved.
III. OLD BUSINESS
A. Setting the date(s) and time(s) of the December and January meetings
The EC confirmed the meeting for December 23, 2003, at 11:30 a.m. and January 20, 2004 at 11:30 a.m. in the Standard Financial Plaza Conference Room, Suite 211.
IV. NEW BUSINESS
B. FY 2005 Budget
The EDLC reported that he has forwarded his request for an additional $20,000 to the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services. He is still waiting for a response.
C. Report and recommendation of Revised Gifts Guidelines
The EDLC reported that in reviewing the 6/20/03 Guidelines, he felt that they could be made easier to use and understand, as well as more relevant to the questions the EC frequently receives about gifts. In this regard, the EDLC proposed modifications as explained in memorandum dated 11/21/03, a copy of which was provided to all Commissioners.
The EC unanimously approved the 11/21/03 draft of the Revised Gifts Guidelines.
The EC moved 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 October 28, 2003 meeting
The minutes of the executive session of October 28, 2003 were unanimously approved.
B. Report regarding a third-party request for advice whether certain city officers violated RCH Sec. 11-104 (fair and equal treatment policy)
The Commission discussed a preliminary report regarding a possible endorsement or special treatment by certain city officers and employees on behalf of retail businesses.
C. Report regarding request for advice whether department officers may solicit contributions from vendors with whom the department contracts for the purposes of a conference without violating RCH Sec. 11-102(a) and ROH Sec. 3-8.7(b) (soliciting gifts) and RCH Sec. 11-104 (fair and equal treatment policy)
The EDLC discussed a preliminary report of a request for advice whether a city officer may solicit contributions from past, current and potential vendors for purposes of a conference.
The EDLC stated that he would obtain more information about the purpose and cost of the conference, the contributors and the size and use of the donations.
D. Report regarding a request for advice whether a city officer may claim a door prize, the value of which is over $200, under RCH Sec. 11-102(a) and ROH Sec. 3-8.8 (b) (gift cap)
The issue is whether the prize should be considered a prohibited gift under the gifts laws. The EDLC stated that the EC does not have an advisory opinion directly on this issue. The EDLC further stated that he needs to collect some additional information and conduct further research.
E. Report regarding a third-party request for advice whether a city officer has appeared before a city agency on behalf of private interests in violation of RCH Sec. 11-102(e), misused city funds in violation of RCH Sec. 11-104 (fair and equal treatment policy) and failed to fully disclose the officer’s financial information in violation of ROH 3-8.4(c)
The Commission discussed a complaint of a city officer appearing before a city agency on behalf of a private interest.
The EDLC stated that he needs to conduct further investigation.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:15 p.m.