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Advisory Opinion No. 145

The question is whether there is any conflict of interest for a City employee in the Office of Council Services to act as a volunteer mediator with the Neighborhood Justice Center [NJC].

The Ethics Commission [Commission] understands the facts to be as follows:

1. The employee acts as staff to a City Council [Council] committee which evaluates land use matters.

2. The employee has been specially trained by the NJC to mediate in environmental or land use disputes.

3. He is presently "on call" as a mediator with the NJC.

4. For the last two years, the employee has become involved with only disputes on the outer islands. He informs the Commission that he will continue to be involved in only outer island disputes.

The Commission agrees with the employee's decision to remain active in only neighbor island mediation cases. While the employee's role at the NJC is a volunteer one, he could find himself facing a conflict of interest situation if he mediates a dispute at the NJC involving a matter on Oahu which later, or simultaneously, comes before the Planning and Zoning Committee for review.

The Commission finds that the employee may continue to mediate outer island disputes for the NJC.

Dated: January 22, 1985

GILBERT A. GIMA
Chair, Ethics Commission

Last Reviewed: Thursday, June 12, 2003