CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU
Date and Place: October 8 and 12, 2007
Standard Financial Plaza
Conference Room, Suite 211
Present: Lex Smith, Chair
Matthew K. Kobayashi
Wayne T. Hikida
Cynthia M. Bond
Charles W. Totto, Executive Director and Legal Counsel (EDLC)
Matthew J. Viola (Outside Counsel)
Stenographer: Norm Fisher
Excused: Susan S. Heitzman
I. CALL TO ORDER
The 409th meeting of the Ethics Commission (Commission or EC) was called to order at 11:35 p.m. by the Chair.
II. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE OPEN SESSION OF THE
SEPTEMBER 13, 2007 MEETING
The minutes of the open meeting of September 13, 2007 were unanimously approved.
III. OLD BUSINESS
A. Confirming the date and time for the November 6, 2007 meeting and setting the date and time for the December, 2007 meeting
The EC confirmed the date for the November 6, 2007 meeting at 11:30 a.m. and set the date and time for the December, 2007 meeting for December 6, 2007 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 5, 2007 regarding the following agenda items:
A. Administrative news
The EDLC outlined the number of cases pending and the ethics training conducted to date in fiscal year 2008.
B. Elections of officers
Upon discussing the matter, the Commission moved, seconded and unanimously carried to elect Lex Smith as Chair and Susan Heitzman as Vice Chair.
C. COGEL Conference
The EDLC requested that the report on his attendance at the COGEL Conference be deferred to the next meeting.
D. Report on Bill 60 (2007) regarding civil fines
The EDLC reported that the bill has been recommended to pass final reading.
E. Report and recommendation regarding Council resolution to support bills that would correct the problem with jurisdiction over impeachment cases
The EDLC reported that the Legislature had not yet acted on the bills. The EDLC stated that he is currently inquiring whether the Hawaii State Association of Counties (HSAC) would sponsor the bills to make them more visible. HSAC requires that each county's Council pass a resolution in support of the bills before HSAC may support them.
V. EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY
The EDLC referred to his confidential memorandum to the EC members dated October 5, 2007, on the following agenda items:
A. Approval of the minutes of the executive session of the September 13, 2007 meeting
The minutes of the executive meeting of September 13, 2007 were unanimously approved as corrected.
B. Report and recommendation regarding the possible violation of RCH Section 11-104 (misuse of city resources for personal benefit) by a city employee, EC No. 06-101(w)
The EDLC presented a copy of a draft advisory opinion for the Commission's review and approval. The EDLC stated that upon completing a lengthy and thorough investigation of the issues in this case, staff found at least 106 violations of RCH Section 11-104 and the relevant departmental policy as fully described in the draft opinion. Staff recommends that the city employee be discharged from employment, and that the department consider restitution and recovery of the monies obtained by the city employee as a result of his violations.
The EDLC stated that he believes that each penalty is justified in this case and has explained why in the draft advisory opinion provided to the commissioners.
Upon discussing the matter, and reviewing the draft advisory opinion, the Commission decided to seek the input of a Department of Human Resources labor relations representative prior to its making a decision and recommendation regarding the city employee's discipline.
The Commission reconvened on October 12, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. Ms. Robin Chun-Carmichael, Division Chief, Division of Labor Relations and Training, Department of Human Resources, attended. Ms. Chun-Carmichael stated that discipline depends on the nature of the misconduct. In cases of something as serious as theft of time, such as an employee who is punching the clock but not working, the Department of Human Resources normally recommends termination of employment, as opposed to demotion or suspension.
After hearing the comments from Ms. Robin Chun-Carmichael, the Commission moved, seconded and unanimously carried to approve the advisory opinion as written, recommending that the city employee be discharged from employment, and that the department consider restitution and recovery of the monies obtained by the city employee as a result of his violations.
The EC moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 12:15 p.m. on October 8, 2007, and 10:30 a.m. on October 12, 2007.