CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU
Date and Place: October 11, 2010
Standard Financial Plaza
Conference Room, Suite 211
Present: Susan S. Heitzman, Chair
Charles Gall, Esq.
Charles W. Totto, Executive Director and Legal Counsel (EDLC)
Stenographer: Norm Fisher
Excused absence: Patricia Y. Lee, Esq.
I. CALL TO ORDER
The 435th meeting of the Ethics Commission (Commission or EC) was called to order at 11:47 a.m. by the Chair.
II. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE OPEN SESSION OF THE
SEPTEMBER 13, 2010 OPEN MEETING
The minutes of the open session of September 13, 2010 meeting were unanimously approved, as amended.
III. OLD BUSINESS
A. Setting the dates and times for the August and September, 2010 meetings
The EC confirmed the November 22, 2010 meeting at 11:30 a.m., and scheduled the date and time for the December, 2010 for December 20, 2010 at 11:30 a.m. in the Standard Financial Plaza Conference Room, Suite 211.
IV. NEW BUSINESS
The Executive Director and Legal Counsel (EDLC) referred to his memorandum dated October 4, 2010 regarding the following agenda items:
A. Administrative News
The EDLC reported that the EC continues to receive complaints at a high volume.
New attorney position for the EC
The EDLC reported that the Ethics Commission's attorney position is still pending approval.
B. Informational: Report on the Ethics Commission Operating Plan for FY2011 through
The EDLC provided the Commission with the proposed EC Operating Plan for FY2011 through FY2013. The EDLC stated that in the past, the Commission has not formally adopted the Plan, but has used it as a guide to help focus on improving the ethics program as resources allow. The EDLC stated that the ethics audit and the training for all city employees are the biggest steps to be taken during this period.
The EC suggested that the Plan also include a "sub-activity" that show impact. Also, the Plan should include an "out reach" to the City Council, to instruct them on the ethics laws, and common ethical mistakes made by councilmembers.
C. Election of Officers
The EC decided to defer this matter until the next meeting.
V. EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY
A. Approval of the minutes of the executive session of the September 13, 2010 meeting
The minutes of the executive session meeting of September 13, 2010 were approved, as amended.
* * *
The EDLC referred to his memorandum dated October 4, 2010 regarding the following agenda items:
B. For Decision: Report and recommendation regarding probable cause of a violation of RCH Sec. 11-102(c) (financial conflict of interest) and by a city officer
The EDLC reported that a city officer requested a hearing to respond to the Notice of Possible Violation of the Standards of Conduct. The EDLC stated that the city officer is not asking to present testimony or other evidence, but would like to address the Commission and answer any questions the members may have.
The city officer addressed the Commission and answered the Commission's questions.
After reviewing the information provided by the Commission's staff and the city officer, and discussing the matter, the Commission moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to find that, although there was a violation committed by the city officer, no discipline is warranted. Also, the EC determined that an advisory opinion should be published without disclosing the city officer's name.
C. For Decision: Report and recommendation regarding probable cause of a violation of RCH Sec. 11-102(a) and RCH Sec. 3-8.8 (prohibited gifts) by a former city officer
The EC deferred this matter until the next meeting to allow the Commission to review the recently received opinion rendered by the state Office of Information Practices that may impact this opinion.
D. For Decision: Resolution for subpoena to a city officer regarding possible violation of RCH Sec. 11-104 (misuse of city funds)
The EDLC stated that staff is attempting to settle this case with the city officer's attorney. The EDLC stated that in case staff cannot settle the matter, staff requests that the Commission approve a resolution to subpoena the city officer to answer questions because the city officer will not agree to an interview with staff.
After reviewing the information provided by the Commission's staff and discussing the matter, the Commission moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to approve a resolution to issue a subpoena to the city officer, and leave it to staff's discretion to use as necessary.
The EC moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 2:10 p.m.