CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU
Date and Place: September 22, 2009
Standard Financial Plaza
Conference Room, Suite 211
Present: Lex Smith, Esq., Chair
Susan S. Heitzman, Vice Chair
Wayne T. Hikida
Matthew H. Kobayashi
Patricia Y. Lee, Esq.
Charles W. Totto, Executive Director and Legal Counsel (EDLC)
Matthew J. Viola, Ethics Commission Outside Counsel (ECOC)
Stenographer: Norm Fisher
I. CALL TO ORDER
The 425TH 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
AUGUST 19, 2009 MEETING
The minutes of the open meeting of August 19, 2009 were unanimously approved.
III. OLD BUSINESS
A. Confirming the date and time for the October 20, 2009 and setting the date and time for
the November, 2009 meeting
The EC cancelled the October 20, 2009 meeting, and scheduled the dates and times for the November and December, 2009 meetings for November 3, 2009 and December 1, 2009 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 September 18, 2009 regarding the following agenda items:
A. Administrative news
The EDLC informed the Commission on the number of cases pending and the ethics training conducted to date in fiscal year 2010.
B. Duties of the Executive Director/Legal Counsel
The EDLC provided the Commission with a draft description of his major duties.
V. EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY
A. Approval of the minutes of the executive sessions of the August 19, 2009 meeting
The minutes of the executive sessions of August 19, 2009 meeting were unanimously approved.
The EDLC referred to his memorandum dated September 18, 2009 regarding the following agenda items:
B. List of complaint cases transmitted to the various departments for action
The EDLC provided the EC with a list of cases transmitted to the various departments for action.
C. Report and recommendation regarding complaints of misuse of city
resources for political purposes by city officers, EC No. 08-194(w)
This matter was reported by EC's outside counsel, Matt Viola (ECOC).
The ECOC reported that in October 2008, the Ethics Commission received two complaints about an informational brochure. Both complaints alleged that the brochure, which was paid for by the city's taxpayers, was political in nature.
The ECOC stated that the central question in this case is whether the brochure was informational or whether it urged the voters to vote a certain way on the proposed charter amendment. The ECOC stated that, overall, it is difficult to conclude that the brochure's presentation was so one-sided that it amounted to partisan advocacy. Such a conclusion might have been easier to reach if the brochure had explicitly referred to the ballot measure. However, the brochure is completely silent about any election issues. Therefore, given this silence, in combination with the predominantly fact-based content of the brochure, staff does not think that the brochure amounts to the functional equivalent of a request to vote in favor of the ballot measure.
The EC stated that they will continue to discuss the matter, and instructed staff to request more information on this matter for additional discussion by the EC.
D. Report and recommendation regarding stipulation to settle allegations of violations of RCH Section 11-104 (misuse of city resources), RCH Section 11-102(c) (financial conflicts of interest), RCH Section 11-103 (failure to file written disclosure of conflicts of interest), ROH Section 3-8.4 (failure to file complete financial disclosure statements) by a city officer, and other issues, EC No. 09-042(o)
The EDLC reported that a settlement is still being discussed.
The EC moved, seconded, and unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 12:20 p.m.