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DRAFT – REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2013   

CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE MEETING ROOM 205

 

CALL TO ORDER:  Chair Sylvia Young called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.

 

Members Present – Robert “Bob” Finley, Loryn Guiffre, Wilson “Kekoa” Ho, Jeanette Nekota, Claire Tamamoto, Sylvia Young, and Charles Zahn.

 

Members Absent – Kathleen Pahinui and Robert “Bob” Stubbs.

 

Guests – Barbara Kahana (Member, Ko’olauloa Neighborhood Board No. 28), Ariel DeJesus (Chair, Ewa Neighborhood Board No. 23), Teddy Biesecker, Jr. (Member, Aiea NB No. 20), Laura Yoshida (Deputy, Corporation Counsel), Romeo Garcia (Acting Executive Secretary), Bryan Mick, Catherine Edwards (Elections), and Wendy Matsukado (Neighborhood Commission Office staff).

 

ROLL CALL OF COMMISSIONERS, ESTABLISHMENT OF QUORUM:  A roll call established a QUORUM of seven (7) Commissioners present.

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

 

Regular Meeting Minutes – January 28, 2013 – Deferred.

 

PUBLIC CONCERNS:

 

Request to Comment – Barbara Kahana is a member of both the Hau’ula Community Association and the Ko’olauloa NB No. 28. Kahana had some thoughts, ideas, and concerns about the Neighborhood Commission Office Report, items A, B, C and D that she wanted to share. Chair Young replied that testimony can be given following the reports.   

 

NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION OFFICE REPORT: 

 

Update on Neighborhood Commission Office (NCO) Organization and Staffing – Mick reported that the NCO has lost Bambi Wong (senior clerk) who transferred to another department, and William Nhieu (neighborhood assistant) leaving by the end of this week. Marie Richardson rejoined the NCO today, as the senior clerk. The remaining vacancies are slowly being filled, but still no indication on the new executive secretary at this point.    

 

Mick provided an overview of the vacant positions in the NCO. Currently, there are 17 positions including the elections clerk. Of the 17 positions, the following positions are vacant; one (1) senior clerk, three (3) neighborhood assistants, one (1) public relations specialist, and the executive secretary.    

 

Update on Mayor’s Representative Program – Mick reported the administration worked hard on assigning all boards a rep. Each NB has been assigned a Mayor’s representative to assist in the Mayor’s Representative Program.     

 

40th Anniversary of Neighborhood Board System and Neighborhood Board Installation Ceremony – Mick noted that the NCO is still looking at potential dates. The Mayor’s Office of the Cultural and Arts (MOCA) was hesitant about using the auditorium due to a capacity concern exceeding a 300 capacity limit two (2) years ago. Although the June 22nd date had been reserved, Mick promised to continue looking at other locations. As such, contact had been made with the University of Hawaii (UH), Chancellors Office and is waiting confirmation on a ballroom which has a 500 person capacity. Three dates were given to UH on a Saturday morning – June 8th, 15th and 22nd. Other locations looked at included the Blaisdell (fully booked all month), and Honolulu Hale Courtyard (all month long event).

 

 

Questions, comments and concerns followed:

 

  1. Alternative Venues – It was suggested as an alternative an event on the lawn at Skygate, with a tent and chairs, podium etc. The McCoy Pavilion was also suggested, however, the venue is not large enough, and parking is an issue. Mick looked at the hotels but many are required to go through their catering companies and that would greatly impact our budget; whereas, UH there is a corkage fee but the NCO would be allowed to bring outside food.

 

  1. Sunshine Law (SL) Training – The plan is to have the SL training; however, if the Office of Information Practice (OIP) is not available, showing the video would satisfy the training requirement portion.

 

Update on Status of 2013 Neighborhood Board Election Process – Mick introduced the Elections Clerk Catherine Edwards. She has been with the NCO since December 2013, is a big help in the office and has become very familiar with the elections process.  

 

Mick explained the handout that was included in the Commission packet. It basically tracked the applications, the candidates, and the areas where races were contested and uncontested. To get an idea of where the election is at, Mick took the numbers from the last election and plugged that in and the NCO is looking at 157,000 voters; and postage will equate to about $31,000 in postage and there was $50,000 total budgeted for postage. There are actually more contested areas than there were three years ago which is a good sign. The next phase for the NCO is finishing the voter list, verifying eligibility in contested areas, and finalizing pictures and profiles for publication.  

 

Questions, comments and concerns followed:

 

  1. Last Day to Withdraw – Today, February 25, 2013 was the last day to withdraw from the election. Mick also indicated if a candidate elects to withdraw even past the withdrawal date, the NCO can still remove their name from the ballot if time permits. 

 

  1. Verifying Eligibility – Mick explained that the NCO does not verify candidates using driver’s licenses, etc.; and that the NCO is able to verify the information of district and sub districts provided by the candidate matches to the address they provide the NCO. Should there be a challenge a request would be made to an outside agency that has the access to records.  

 

  1. Posted Online – The names of the candidates and the sub districts where the candidates reside are posted online; and no addresses are provided online.

 

  1. Comments on Agenda Items – The following comments offered by Barbara Kahana related to agenda items A, B, C and D:

 

    • Item A, Staffing – Kahana was happy to hear that the staffing situation is being addressed. The Ko’olauloa area is happy with the service they are getting from the neighborhood assistant.
    • Item B, Mayor’s Program – She thanked the NCO for ensuring the Mayor’s representative program continues.
    • Item C, 40th Anniversary and Installation Ceremony – Kahana testified that it would be a golden opportunity to celebrate the 40th anniversary, but the installation ceremony and training should come first, and then followed by the 40th Anniversary at a later date. It is a good thing and great opportunity to get the communities more active, do more education about the purpose, the goals and duties of the NBs.
    • Item D, Election Process – Kahana recalled the results of the last election and the response participation levels were not good. Especially in the Ko’olauloa area, there are many elderly people who do not have the access to computers, and the concern was how the elderly would participate in the voting process. The other concern regarded publication and getting the information out to the people. The last go around, the Ko’olauloa participation was not great, and in her opinion, a 13 or even 20 percent response rate is not what she wanted people to get excited about. That’s a challenge that collectively something is not being done as well as it can be. Kahana is a stickler for participating in the process, and strongly encouraged looking at other alternatives to actively get more people to participate in the process. A suggestion was that the U.S. Post Office came out with an every door direct mailing system.

 

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

 

Elections Committee – Committee Chair Nekota reported that the committee met right before tonight’s meeting. There are some suggestions of problems/situations incurred during this election that could be addressed with the NP committee. Of particular interest, the Manoa NB will not have a quorum at the initial convening of the new term, and therefore, the NC will have to step in and exercise authority. Nekota provided copies for review.

 

Questions, comments and concerns followed:

 

Computer Service Locations – It has always been Mick’s intention to provide a computer during the voting period at Honolulu and Kapolei Hale. Ko’olauloa also had a computer available at the Hau’ula Civic Center site; however, the NCO had difficulty with providing staffing at that location.

 

Finance Committee – Committee Chair Tamamoto had no meeting and no report at this time.

 

Question, comments and concerns followed:

 

  1. NCO Budget – The NCO budget will be submitted March 1, 2013 for the hearing process. Tamamoto would like to have a copy of the budget that will be submitted; Mick will forward the budget when it gets submitted to the City Council.  

 

  1. NB Budget – The budget that will be submitted to City Council is the total Neighborhood Board System budget. Once the budget is finally passed by the City Council, then the NCO will look at the allocations for each NB.  

 

Neighborhood Plan Committee – Committee Chair Finley had no meeting due to the lack of input on the proposed changes. Finley awaits the recommendations from the Elections Committee, and is always open to any proposed changes to the Neighborhood Plan. Please email any proposed changes to nco@honolulu.gov. The NCO will forward those emails to Chair Finley for review.

 

COMMISSION BUSINESS:

 

Report on Status of Ewa Neighborhood Board Sanctions – Mick reported that the NCO did schedule a makeup training session for the Ewa NB members; two (2) of the three (3) NB members that had missed one (1) of the three (3) officially scheduled meetings attended on February 11, 2013 at Kapolei Hale. The session covered what the Findings of Fact mandated.. Those two (2) members were then allowed to attend the NB meeting; Kurt Fevella who was the third member was unable to attend. As a result, he was ineligible to serve as an NB member until he completes the training. A handout was provided in the Commission Packet.  

 

Zahn submitted his Monthly Report with his recommendations on page 3. Chair Young received an email report from Cynthia Rezentes, the Independent Presiding Officer (IPO) in January/February. The following pointers were encouraged: a) Formality when addressing individuals, b) Training on wording agenda items for clearer understanding to the public, c) Entire NB needs training on establishment and operation of committees, d)   Additional training of the chair/vice chair understanding their role when conducting the meeting. e) Items placed on the agenda were unclear as to what the intent or the action of the item meant. Examples mentioned included items that affect the NB budget, and restructuring and delegation of NB committees. (Reports from Zahn and Rezentes were included in the NC packet).      

 

In brief, the Commissioners who attended those meetings noted that the reports were in agreement and the recommendations were on track.  

 

Questions, comments and concerns followed:

 

  1. Request for Reports – Ariel De Jesus requested the copies of the reports provided by the NC observers and the independent presiding officer (IPO). He intends to share it with the NB members. With regards to the structuring of the committee, there seemed to have been a conflict with the way it was handled with the IPO and the NA. With regards to the structuring of the agenda, De Jesus indicated that he was just following previous agendas from and is trying the best he can. If there are concerns with the agenda not specific enough or too broad; please, just let him know. He is trying to move forward and feels that open communication is important and a key factor with his NB officers.

Commissioner Ho questioned whether the report would be available to Mr. De Jesus. According to COR, the NCO can make the copy available to De Jesus, but there is personal information on the report which needs to be redacted. 

 

Report on Status of Finding of Facts (FOF) for Nanakuli-Maili Neighborhood Board No. 36, Complaint 2012-09, James “Kimo” Kelii – Mick reported that the FOF went into effect and Mr. Kelii was given a 60-day suspension from participating on the NB. There was a brief discussion where Mr. Kelii denied receiving his copy of the FOF, complained about being misled by the former Executive Secretary Heinrich, and wanted to repeal the hearing. But in a previous communication, Mick explained to Mr. Kelii that the repeal could not be done at the NC level. His option would be to go through the repeal process in court. Mick was informed by Mr. Kelii that he retained a lawyer and was told by his counsel to ignore the FOF.

 

In a phone call, Mick was able to advise the NB chair about possible actions if Mr. Kelii decided to participate; however, Mr. Kelii agreed to sit in the audience and not participate as a NB member. The NB chair (Aipoalani) agreed to allow Mr. Kelii explain the committee motions that were before the NB for action but not participate in the discussion or the voting. Mr. Kelii was okay with that. Following a brief recess, the NB members gathered near the NB chair so Mick could communicate over the speaker phone to explain the situation.

 

Mick also noted that the NCO did receive the certified return receipt signed by Mr. Kelii’s son on the day of the NB meeting. Apparently, there was a lack of communication receiving the certified FOF.   

 

Questions, comments and concerns followed:

 

Mick was asked about his interpretation and explained that his explanation was based on a somewhat similar situation involving another member from another NB, in that based on discussions, the member can attend as a member of the public, and not as a board member, until such time as his training was completed as mandated by the FOF. Mick noted that the same elements were present and the FOF cannot trump his rights under State Sunshine law.

 

Report on Evaluation Neighborhood Board Visitations – Commissioner Zahn reported the following:

 

·         Waianae Coast NB No. 24 on February 5, 2013 – There was no videographer present. The Department of Parks and Recreation personnel was able to setup audio system so the meeting was able to continue. Of major concern, several letters received by the NB chair were circulated to NB members, which were to be included into the minutes without any discussion by anyone of what these letters were. One letter regarded a concern about dust coming into the school from a construction site. One NB member received a three absence letter and resigned that night. 

·         Aiea NB No. 20 on February 11, 2013 – At the January meeting, the NB appointed two individuals without being verified by the NA until after new NB member were appointed, and the minutes did not correctly reflect what occurred.

 

Questions, comments and concerns followed:

 

  1. Procedural Process – There was procedural issue when appointing a member on the NB. There may have been an earlier discuss prior to the start of the meeting that may have gone through that verification process; however, Tamamoto could not be certain. Mick noted this is the first he’s of this and he will follow-up, and Mick’s recommendation would be to put it back on the agenda to follow through with that procedural process. Teddy Biesecker, member on Aiea NB noted that it was an oversight and it was cleared up.

 

  1. NA Assignment – In response, Mick noted that the NA are doing anywhere from six (6) to seven (7) NB meetings, which means they could actually be going to three meetings in a week. 

 

  1. Request to Post Evaluation Report – Ariel De Jesus asked the NC to consider posting a PDF copy of the monthly evaluation report, so he can share it with his NB. He added that the NC meeting minutes reflects a summary of what was reported, and he would like to share with his NB what the report said verbatim. Chair Young thanked De Jesus for his comment.  

Complaint Response Received from Complainant Jame Schaedel via Certified Mail – Mick gave an overview that as part of the complaint process there is a 45-day response period to respond which the response was received and filed. However, correspondence addressed to Chair Young claimed that the NP requires that the NCO provide a copy of the complaint within 10-days to the respondent. Unfortunately, the NCO did not meet this 10-day requirement and based on that, Mr. Schaedel is requesting that NC dismiss the complaint.

 

Mick noted it was not fair to the Complainant (Golojuch, Jr.) who filed the complaint to dismiss it based on the NCO not meeting the timeline or that Mr. Schaedel was inconvenienced because the error was that the 45-day period started later than earlier. Chair Young asked if a response was received by the second respondent; however, Kapoi was handling the complaints then, and Mick will check the file again, but he believes a response had not been received.

 

Mick also noted that Mr. Schaedel mentioned that the NC took up the Ewa complaint before addressing this complaint which was filed prior. Mick indicated that the Ewa complaint was filed by the former Executive Secretary Tom Heinrich which gave it precedence.

 

Finley moved to dismiss this complaint for the lack of compliance by the NCO; Zahn seconded the motion. Discussion followed with Deputy Laura Yoshida’s recommendation to go into Executive Session. Zahn withdrew his second to the motion. The motion died for the lack of a second.

 

Finley moved to enter into Executive Session pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 92-4 and Section 92-5 (4)(8) for the purpose of consulting with the Neighborhood Commission's Legal Counsel on questions and issues pertaining to the Commission's powers, duties, privileges, immunities, and liabilities; Zahn seconded the motion. The motion was ADOPTED, 7-0-0 (Aye:  Finley, Guiffre, Ho, Nekota, Tamamoto, Young, and Zahn).

 

Executive Session convened at 8:15 p.m. and ended at 8:38 p.m., at which time agenda items continued.

 

Chair Young reported that the NC acknowledged receipt of the Complaint Response letter from complainant Jame Schaedel. The NC will treat this as a “Motion to Dismiss.” At the next meeting, the NC will set a hearing date for the motion and the complaint. The NCO will send a letter to the parties informing them of the process that will be followed.

 

Appointment of Neighborhood Board Elections Chief Monitoring Officer (CMO) – Finley asked to defer this item until there is a better understanding of the staffing situation with the NCO. Mick hoped to get someone appointed sooner than later. The testing date has yet to be set, but Mick explained that part of the CMO position is to assist with testing the software, certifying the voting system, and ensuring everything is being done correctly. Currently the position is not optional and is a requirement as part of the NP.     

 

Discussion followed: Chair Young would like to give the candidates the section of the NP regarding the duties and functions of the Elections Chief Monitoring Officer. The position has been designated as a voluntary, however a brief background statement will be required, as well as an appearance before the NC. Five possible candidates included; Tom Heinrich, Forest Frizzell, Glenn Takahashi, A.J. Halagao, and another candidate who is a CPA.

 

Nekota moved to defer the appointment of a Chief Monitoring Officer to the next meeting on March 25, 2013; Finley seconded the motion. A brief discussion focused on the possible candidates appearing at the next meeting with a brief background statement. The motion was ADOPTED, 7-0-0 (Aye:  Finley, Guiffre, Ho, Nekota, Tamamoto, Young, and Zahn).

 

At this time, the agenda was taken out of order back to agenda item 4A.

 

Update on Neighborhood Commission Office (NCO) Organization and Staffing – Mick wanted to confirm the total staffing shortage; one (1) senior clerk, four (4) NAs, one (1) public relations specialist, and the executive secretary. There is a fourth NA who is currently out on leave bringing the total shortage in the NCO to seven (7). 

A brief discussion followed with questions from the NC whether all 10 position have been given a four year appointment; Mick was unable to respond due to it not being in his purview.  

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

 

Next Regular Meeting – The Neighborhood Commission’s next regular meeting is tentatively scheduled for Monday, March 25, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at the City Council Committee Meeting Room, Honolulu Hale, Room 205, 530 South King Street. 

ADJOURNMENT:  The meeting adjourned at 8:56 p.m.

 

Recorded by,

Wendy Matsukado

NCO Secretary

 

Submitted by,

Marie Richardson

NCO Senior Clerk

 

Reviewed by,

Bryan Mick and Sylvia Young

Last Reviewed: Tuesday, June 18, 2013