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CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU
MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING
JULY 12, 2005
CALL TO ORDER: Chair Roy Wickramaratna called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. with a quorum present.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Roy Wickramaratna, Mike Ellis, Ed Gall, Sylvia Young, Clara Ching, Jeanette Nekota.
MEMBERS ABSENT: Kalene Sakamoto.
GUESTS: Jennifer Waihee (City Deputy Corporation Counsel), Pam Witty-Oakland (Commissioner designee), Linda Ure (Kailua Neighborhood Board No. 31), Jim Cochran (Kailua Neighborhood Board No. 31), Cynthia Rezentes (Waianae Coast Neighborhood Board No. 24), Al Furuto (McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8), Ron Lockwood (McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8), Bert Narita (Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board No. 5), Michael Golojuch (Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board No. 34), Clifton Takamura (McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8), John Gollner (McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8).
STAFF: Michelle Kidani (Executive Assistant), Marie Richardson, Tanya Goo.
INTRODUCTION AND WELCOME: Chair Wickramaratna called the roll (five members present: Gall, Young, Ching, Ellis and Wickramaratna). Chair Wickramaratna welcomed Commissioner designee Pam Witty Oakland who has been appointed but since she has not been officially sworn in will not be voting. Chair Wickramaratna welcomed the audience. He announced that Executive Secretary Baybee Hufana-Ablan would be unable to attend due to an emergency and that Commission Office Executive Assistant Michele Kidani was present for Hufana-Ablan.
APPROVAL OF THE REGULAR MEETING MINUTES OF JANUARY 11, MARCH 15, MAY 10, AND JUNE 14, 2005: Chair Wickramaratna reported that the New Business segment of the January 11, 2005 Regular Meeting Minutes was not ready for review and reported the item would need to be deferred. He asked for corrections to the March 15, 2005 Minutes. Ching noted that Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR 10th ed. page 343, line 28) states that all corrections of (January 11th) minutes should be placed in the text of original (January 11th) minutes being approved and that the only notation in the current (March 15th) or (July 12th) meeting’s minutes would be that a correction to the prior (January 11th) meeting’s minutes had occurred, and, that the Office should develop uniform standards for minutes following this format from RONR. Chair Wickramaratna stated that draft minutes will be circulated to the members and they can make corrections at the next meeting. Ching moved, seconded by Young, that the Commission should follow Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR 10th ed. page 343, line 28), that states that all corrections of minutes should be placed into the text of minutes being approved and the only notation in the current meeting’s minutes would be that a correction to the prior meeting’s minutes had occurred. Nekota arrived at 7:20 p.m.; six commissioners present. Chair Wickramaratna noted that the Executive Secretary would be informed of the motion. The motion passed unanimously, 6-0-0.
Young moved, seconded by Ellis, that the Commission defer approval of all pending minutes until the January 11, 2005 minutes are properly completed. The motion passed unanimously, 6-0-0.
Ching noted that the minutes for the May 10, 2005 meeting did not include her discussion on how Board minutes should properly be recorded.
Young moved, seconded by Ellis, that a packet of copies of all draft minutes be distributed to Commissioners and that the Commissioners come with their corrections to the next meeting. Commissioner Ellis stated he would abstain from voting on previous minutes of meetings he was not present. Commissioners expressed disappointment and frustration that they have not seen the completed January minutes and that it is still not available. Kidani reported that draft minutes of the January 11, 2005 meeting was posted on the web on March 18, 2005 and that the Commission was given the tapes of the meeting at their request to complete the New Business portion of the draft minutes. Commissioners were not aware that former Commissioner Heinrich was in possession of the tapes. Ching expressed concern that another member is editing the tape. Ching moved, seconded by Ellis, that the Neighborhood Commission Office secure the tapes of the January 11th meeting within 7 days (July 19, 2005). The motion passed unanimously, 6-0-0.
Mike Golojuch, member of the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board No. 34, reported that the June 2005 meeting of the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board was being shown on ‘Olelo as a regular meeting, that it should not be shown as a ‘regular meeting’ since there was no quorum and questioned if it should be aired (as Board money assists with production costs).
Cynthia Rezentes, Chair of the Waianae Coast Neighborhood Board No. 24:
· Expressed her frustration over the 2-hour time limit for staff assistance at meetings, since the Sunshine Law-required citizen participation at her Board extends the meetings until at least 10:30 p.m. every meeting. She explained that when the Board secretary has to take notes, it is difficult for the secretary to participate as a member. She asked for NAs to stay until 10 pm as they were allowed before, pointing out that the contract with HGEA allows for this. She noted that the Kailua Neighborhood Board No. 31 has also sent a letter opposing the staff assistance limit to 2 hours.
· Explained that her concept of minutes includes the recording of names of all speakers so that individuals may be followed up on and that corrections may be inserted into the proper set of original minutes.
· Noted that the last 6 months has been a high learning curve for new administration. Before making wholesale changes, she asks for a closer look at how it affects boards.
· Believes, based on number of hours worked and number of boards served, that a Neighborhood Assistant (NA) can provide at least 20 hours of service to each Board and she wants her 20 hours worth from her NA. The need for more correspondence time is also the result of a change in City policy where fewer concerns are being responded to in writing but are being answered verbally. Rather than encouraging residents’ concerns forms filled out, she will write concern letters on the neighborhood members’ behalf and send to the City for written response.
· Believes that NA’s leaving and taking nametags and PA system in the midst of the meeting disrupts the meeting.
Nekota noted Waianae Coast Neighborhood Board has done a great job in cutting back the time because Board meetings used to go until 1 and 2 o’clock in the morning. There was a suggestion in the June meeting to pay NAs out of their own pocket, but this wasn’t mentioned in minutes. Nekota suggested the Neighborhood Commission Office do a time study on employees.
Linda Ure, member of the Kailua Neighborhood Board No. 31,introduced herself as the current board secretary and circulated a letter from Chair Kathy Bryant-Hunter reporting on a Kailua Neighborhood Board No. 31 motion from the July 7, 2005 meeting that states: The Kailua Neighborhood Board absolutely opposes the directive by the Neighborhood Commission Office Executive Secretary to limit Board meetings to two hours, to require Neighborhood Assistants to leave after two hours, and to have minutes prepared in a summary format. She also distributed a section of the Sunshine Law (Hawaii public law Section 92) pertaining to minutes. She stated that the NA left the Kailua Neighborhood Board meeting after 2 hours, picking up the name plates and several papers that were still needed for the meeting (signup sheets for speakers and board voting sheets). She stated that there had been no letter from the Executive Secretary on the 2-hour staff time limit, no discussion or general awareness, and that the newsletter is not an official means of communication. She explained that the new limit seems to be made for the benefit of Commission staff and that problems will occur because of requirements for the recording of votes, that the minutes are not standardized (being taken by one NA and finished by another). Speaking on her own behalf, she noted that the Kailua Neighborhood Board has had four NAs in four months. She said that the Commission could not have approved the 2-hour staff limit after discussion in January or February since the Executive Secretary’s confirmation had just occurred. She reported that a decision made six weeks prior to implementation was too fast and that the volunteer board secretaries were not ready to take on the task, pointing out that she might be asked to chair the meeting and that there has been no training of secretaries.
Chair Wickramaratna pointed out that the Commissioners were also volunteers.
Jim Cocoran, member of the Kailua Neighborhood Board No. 31, introduced himself as a four term member and former board secretary, and reported:
· That the departure of the NA was very disruptive to the meeting.
· That oft repeated comments that the boards are not willing to change is not true; that the Kailua Neighborhood Board has reduced the general length of its meetings from 11:30 to midnight in the year 2000 to the current meeting length of until 10:00 o’clock or so.
· That the board covers a large area, with a large population and deal with major issues.
· That by requiring the elected secretary to record the meeting prevents that board member from participating in discussions.
· That he recommends the Commission write a letter to the Managing Director requesting a change in the decision on the 2-hour staff time limitation.
· That he had concerns that retribution might be taken against Neighborhood Assistants
· That board minutes needed to be more current, since the April minutes were being acted upon at the June meeting, and suggested that the ‘new crew’ needed to slow down and see how things work before making changes.
· That there was a need to communicate and to ask board members for input, to consult, to confer, and to go to the board.
Young suggested that the proposed staff limitation could have been put on the agenda. Ching commented that Commission was very concerned with decision on the staff limitation, that she was also unaware of this until last month’s meeting, and that the Executive Secretary had reported that the decision had been discussed with the Managing Director. Ching stated that no decision should have been made unilaterally and that there had been no discussion with Commissioners in January or February. Ching moved that the Commission pass a motion to express “no confidence” in the staff limitation decision of the Executive Secretary made without the prior knowledge of the Commission. Chair Wickramaratna ruled that no action could be taken since this was not an agenda item.
Nekota noted that Executive Secretary had stated in the June meeting that the sound system could be used by the boards after the NAs left the meeting but that the systems would have to be assigned to the responsibility of the board. She inquired if this policy had been communicated to board chairs and noted that it had not been reflected in the minutes of the June meeting. Chair Wickramaratna referred the comments to the Executive Secretary.
Ching noted that the June minutes do not reflect intense concern of the Commissioners with regard to the staff limitation issue, commenting that she was very concerned that the Commission was not informed of this decision as she didn’t receive her newsletter until the June meeting. Nekota stated that Gall had expressed being very upset about reading the staff limitation issue in the newspaper prior to its being communicated to Commissioners and that this also isn’t reflected in the minutes. Ching asked that the issue be addressed at this meeting; Chair Wickramaratna ruled it could not be addressed, as it wasn’t on agenda.
Clifton Takamura, member of the McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8, stated he attended Charter Commission meeting and they are interested in his proposal suggesting changes to the City Charter regarding Article 14, dealing with the Neighborhood Commission.
John Gollner, member of the McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8, expressed his unhappiness with the Ho Ike Lono statement that the staff assistance at meetings will be limited to 2 hours and concern that minutes will be summarized showing only motions made by members. He noted that minutes have never been verbatim but noted that they need to reflect discussions. He noted that the staff time in involved in minutes production could not possibly take more than 6 hours.
Ron Lockwood, Chair of the McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8, reported that the Board has taken a position to have their meetings be from 7:00 p.m. until 9:45 p.m., which includes a public input portion of 45 minutes to an hour. He noted that it was not reasonable to say, in placing City presentations at the start, that City workers need to be at work the next day since all residents need to be at work early and are at the meetings as volunteers. He noted that his transporting of the sound system was not reasonable, as he works within his community rather than in the downtown area and suggested the plan for returning the sound systems need to be redone.
Albert Furuto, member of the McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8, proposed that boards make a greater effort to limit speaker’s time in order to make meetings go faster. He noted that when the McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board had gone to 12:00 p.m. residents had expressed frustration with the meeting length. He noted that the failure to limit agenda items, as well as the inclusion of a number of issues from adjacent board areas – although the Board sometimes needs to address those issues – adds to the length of the meeting. He noted that the board system has been successful in attracting the participation of good people who are willing to stay until 12:30 and 1:00 o’clock but that community members are discouraged because of the meeting length. He thanked the Commission for their efforts and thanked the Commissioners for their volunteer time.
Cochoran suggested that the Commission place the 2-hour staff limitation on the agenda with 6 votes. Chair Wickramaratna noted that he had ruled that the issue could not be addressed; Nekota noted that the issue was of major importance and should be deferred. Ellis thanked the community members for their input on the above issues.
Nekota noted that she personaaly had received emails that were not included in the Commissioners packets and, although she did not know to whom the emails were actually dispatched to, they were addressed to the Neighborhood Commission. Ellis stated that the issue of Commission mail was discussed at the June meeting and that Commissioners were to have boxes set up for their mail, with the mail to be sent to them weekly. Ching noted that this information was not reflected in the minutes. Nekota stated that Commissioner’s personal mailing addresses had been removed from the web site; Kidani reported that waiver forms, which will authorize the Commission Office to include their address and/or phone/email info on web, would be distributed.
Commissioner designee Witty Oakland noted that a report distributed (for use at the August meeting) needed to be redone. Gollner asked that the August meeting be scheduled for Honolulu Hale rather than the anticipated Kapolei Hale site. Ure asked for information to be placed on the web that would tell how Commissioner mail should be transmitted.
ELECTION OF NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION OFFICERS FOR THE 2005-2006 YEAR: Chair Wickramaratna noted the absence of Commissioner Sakamoto and reported that Commissioner designee Witty Oakland was scheduled to be sworn in prior to the next Commission meeting. Gall moved, without objection, to defer election of officers until all vacancies are filled.
VERIFICATION OF ELECTION RESULTS BY THE NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION PURSUANT TO SECTION 3-7.9, REVISED NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN 1986 (1998 EDITION): Without objection, Chair Wickramaratna postponed the item until the next meeting.
STATUS REPORT ON PENDING COMPLAINTS FILED IN ACCORDANCE WITH CHAPTER 1, ARTICLE 10 OF THE REVISED NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN 1986 (1998 EDITION) ): Without objection, Chair Wickramaratna postponed the item until the next meeting.
CONSIDERATION OF THE FISCAL YEAR 2006 (JULY 1, 2005 TO JUNE 30, 2006) BUDGET PROCESS (CITY COUNCIL BILL 12, CD1 & CD2 RELATING TO THE EXECUTIVE OPERATING BUDGET), PREPARATION OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD SYSTEM BUDGET, PREPARATION OF INDIVIDUAL NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD BUDGETS, AND SPECIFIC BUDGET RELATED IDEAS: Without objection, Chair Wickramaratna postponed the item until the next meeting. Ching noted that the Commission’s Budget Committee had not distributed the past committee meeting minutes; Kidani pointed out that the minutes are produced by the committee.
CONSIDERATION OF PROPOSED RESOLUTION RECOMMENDING THAT THE “NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION OFFICE” BE RENAMED AS THE “NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD SYSTEM OFFICE”: Without objection, Chair Wickramaratna postponed the item until the next meeting.
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY’S REPORT – Kidani reported for Executive Secretary Baybee Hufana-Ablan that Hufana-Ablan is planning another meeting of board chairs and will also invite the chair of Commission, although the State open meetings law limits participation for the full Commission. Gall asked that the Corporation Counsel reconsider this position, as he believed that Commissioner attendance would be important. Ching said Commissioner participation was important and that the meeting should be made a public meeting with minutes taken; Nekota agreed with Ching. Nekota stated that Chair Bill Woods of Kalihi Valley Neighborhood Board has said that Neighborhood Commission Office (NC0) staff is altering board agendas from what he submitted. Kidani said she was not aware of any agendas being altered by NCO staff. Ching said it was being done. Ching asked for Corporation Counsel Waihee to state her opinion on the open meeting law’s coverage of Commissioners at a Chairs meeting; Waihee declined, noting that she could discuss legal matters during Executive Session.
CONSIDERATION OF PROPOSED RESOLUTION RECOMMENDING THAT ALL POSITION DESCRIPTIONS FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION OFFICE STAFF, INCLUDING THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, BE REVIEWED AND UPDATED BY THE CITY ADMINISTRATION): Without objection, Chair Wickramaratna postponed the item until the next meeting. Ching then moved, seconded by Nekota, that all Position Descriptions for the Neighborhood Commission Office Staff, including the Executive Secretary, be reviewed and updated by the City Administration. Young asked on a point of order that motions on position descriptions might be considered as personnel matters that should first be considered in Executive Session; Chair Wickramaratna sustained the point of order.
BUDGET – KALENE SHIM SAKAMOTO: Chair Wickramaratna noted that he had talked with Sakamoto and that she had no report.
ELECTIONS – ROY WICKRAMARATNA: Chair Wickramaratna reported no new issues.
NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN – EDWARD GALL & ROY WICKRAMARATNA: Gall reported no new information.
TRAINING – JEANETTE NEKOTA: Nekota said she had asked for a July committee meeting but that it had not been placed on the agenda and that she would like one before the August meeting.
COMMISSIONERS’ OPEN FORUM: OPPORTUNITY FOR GENERAL DISCUSSION REGARDING COMMISSION ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS, PLANNING FOR FUTURE MEETINGS AND ACTIVITIES, NETWORKING, COORDINATION WITH OTHER AGENCIES AND ORGANIZATIONS, MEMBERS’ CONCERNS, ATTENDANCE AT NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD MEETINGS, ANNOUNCEMENTS, ETC.: Nekota stated the web site needs to be updated in a timely manner; including that the only current picture is Commissioner Sakamoto. Chair Wickramaratna noted that he had attended the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board meeting; he reported no comments on the meeting. Nekota expressed concern that she has no criteria by which to evaluate boards when she attends board meetings. Gall noted that it has been suggested a number of times, without general Commissioner interest, that they assign each Commissioner certain boards in their areas to attend as liaisons. Ching asked the Executive Secretary to provide the basis on which the Executive Secretary uses to evaluate Boards. Ellis recommended referring the issue to the Training Committee; Nekota said that the Executive Secretary reported that she had evaluated the Boards in determining that the 2-hour staff assistance limitation was a good idea. Young noted that the Executive Secretary’s visits to the boards were under the old board chairs and the boards should be evaluated under new chairs. Nekota stated that it would help the Training Committee if they were aware of the needs. Ching stated the Eexecutive Secretary should make it her priority to visit the boards since she limited the staff times. Nekota stated that since the staff assistance limitation is a 3-month trial, the Executive Secretary should share the criteria she is using.
Gall noted a request was made last year for a demographics study to see if the boards were properly represented, being directed to the Executive Secretary (particularly to Neighborhood Commission Office staffer Elwin Spray), with Spray reporting at the June meeting that the study was continuing. Gall noted that the issue is important as several boards are involved in discussion of representation and asked that the Executive Secretary move forward on the study.
Nekota discussed sunshine training, stating, “in the City Charter it states that all must attend the sunshine law training within 3 months of their being sworn in.” Nekota also stated “the City Charter states that we give a certificate” noting that “that’s what’s stated in the Charter, word for word.” Nekota noted that the May 14th training had about 160 board members; Kidani reported that an additional 80 took it on June 28th, out of a member total 0f 444. Kidani reported requests to train via DVD or tape; no approval for additional training from the State has been received.
SCHEDULING OF NEXT NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING: TENTATIVELY TO BE HELD ON TUESDAY, AUGUST 9, 2005 AT 7:00 P.M. (THE NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION USUALLY MEETS ON THE SECOND TUESDAY OF THE MONTH AT 7:00 P.M. AT EITHER HONOLULU HALE OR KAPOLEI HALE.) Chair Wickramaratna suggested an August recess be considered. Ching and Nekota spoke for an August meeting. Chair Wickramaratna announced that the next meeting would be August 9, 2005 at 7:00 p.m., site yet to be determined. Gall announced he would be off island; Young announced she would likely also be unable to be present. A location was discussed with Gall saying that the Commission had agreed to alternate between Kapolei and Honolulu; Ching corrected him that there was no agreement to alternate. The choice of sites was for Mission Memorial, Council Hearing, and then Kapolei.
EXECUTIVE SESSION -- PURSUANT TO HAWAII REVISED STATUTES SECTIONS 92-4 & 92-5(A)(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, ESPECIALLY IN RELATION TO THE COMPREHENSIVE REVISION EFFORT OF THE REVISED NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN. Chair Wickramaratna, without objection, convened the Commission in Executive Session at 9:30 p.m.
ADJOURNMENT: Chair Wickramaratna, without objection, adjourned at 9:50 p.m.
Submitted by Elwin Spray, Neighborhood Commission Office staff
|Tuesday, October 11, 2005|