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MONDAY, MAY 21, 2007
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
CALL TO ORDER: Chair
MEMBERS PRESENT: Sheila Apisa, Clara Ching,
GUESTS: Daisy Murai; Barbara Miller, Roxie Berlin and
ROLL CALL OF COMMISSIONERS: Roll call of Commissioners taken presented a quorum of eight (8) members.
A. Executive Secretary’s Report:
1. Use of a recording device. Manke reported that she confirmed that NA staff uses a recording device (digital or cassette) at all board meetings. She asked to be notified when an NA is not using a recording device.
2. Waianae Neighborhood Board. Manke noted that efforts are being made to meet with the chair of the Waianae Neighborhood Board to partner and work on solutions to meet deadlines for the preparation of monthly minutes and improving services provided to the board.
3. 2007 Neighborhood Board Election Report. Manke provided the following overview on the recent election:
* Voters included in 2007 election unlike previous years
**Returned ballots include 4,030 online votes
a. Objectives included efforts to increase participation by reaching inactive voters (more than 75,000) who failed to vote in past elections, voters living in uncontested race districts, and people who would prefer to vote online as an alternative to casting a paper ballot. The rate of return, based on the same calculation used in previous years by sending ballots only to contested races, is 28.8%.
b. On-Line voting offered an alternative election method to all registered voters and provided software for perpetual use in future elections. This year 4,030 votes were cast online (10% of total votes cast), of which 3,990 votes were cast by individuals who received paper ballots. These votes resulted in a savings of $2,000 in postage as each business reply envelope mailed back to the NCO costs 50 cents. This year approximately 40,000 paper ballots were returned by mail with a postage cost of approximately $20,000.
c. Online voting will be considered again in the future with efforts to improve the entire process by the use of direct mailers with identification numbers to all voters, and using shorter identification numbers with a more legible font. Manke thanked the Commission for allowing the NCO the opportunity to utilize online voting.
Discussion followed focusing on the cost effectiveness and benefits in this year’s election process. Questions were raised about the costs incurred and whether there are ways to save money. Manke stated that the total cost was $305,000 for postage, printing and mailing of approximately 230,000 paper ballots, which included a vendor cost of $172,000 to develop the software program for optical scanning of the paper ballots and to conduct the online voting.
By comparison, it would have cost approximately $418,000 to print and mail paper ballots to all 405,000 registered voters (contested and uncontested races). In the last election (2005 - 2007) costs were approximately $250,000 where paper ballots were mailed to approximately 194,000 voters in contested races only. The benefit this year is that the election process included the uncontested races and inactive voters, and also provided an additional method of voting.
Manke advised that the vendor who provided paper ballot services in the past at a lower rate of approximately $70,000 could no longer provide the same punch card system. Therefore, it became necessary to explore new voting systems. The vendor cost for this year was not limited to only a paper ballot system, but it included online voting as well. Further, the perpetual use of the software program to conduct both paper and online voting will help to keep costs down in the future. It was noted that 40 online votes cast were from uncontested areas.
B. Committee Reports:
1. Budget Committee. Sakamoto reported that the City Council’s Budget Committee is meeting on Wednesday, May 23rd at 9 a.m., to deliberate on the Executive budget bill. Councilmember Djou introduced two items that will affect the NCO:
§ A proposed cut of $107,030 from salaries which would affect three vacant positions: an NA position, a
Secretary position and a Senior Clerk position. The Senior Clerk position was vacant for over a year due to a vacancy cutback last year; the Secretary position has been vacant since March 2007 and is in the interviewing process; and the NA position will be filled on May 29th.
§ A proposed cut of $19,305 to equal the 2006 budget. Publicity accounts have increased for (17) neighborhood boards for videotaping and additional funds have been earmarked for training.
These proposed cuts have been deferred by the Budget Committee. Questions and answers followed:
a. Ching expressed her continued concerns with not providing a DVD of board meetings to the NCO for archival purposes. She explained that she contacted ‘Olelo who advised that the videographer could provide the DVD for $3, the use of the ‘Olelo equipment is at “no charge”, and that the DVD would last six to seven years. Ching requested the Budget Committee to look into this matter for archival purposes.
Sakamoto read verbatim an email response from Gerry Silva of ‘Olelo dated March 20, 2007 which indicated that the process is much longer than perceived and is not a short, simple or easy task; and depending on the equipment used, the process could take anywhere from four to eight hours or even longer. The transferring process to a DVD is a minute-for-minute process and can only be done once the editing process is complete. These two operations cannot be done concurrently and setting up transfer stations could cost about $3,000.
Chair Tanimoto thanked Ching for raising these concerns, and noted that there appears to be a difference of opinion within ‘Olelo.
b. Ure asked the following questions: 1) has the NCO budget been submitted to the City Council; 2) will the Commission submit testimony at Wednesday’s hearing; 3) will there be any recommendations regarding the positions; and 4) will the NCO request an increase in postage. Manke responded that there are increases in the budget request and that she is ready to testify if necessary. With reference to postage costs, the budget director will submit an across the board provision for postage increases for city departments.
In an effort to save some postage money, Ure asked about bulk rate mail outs of agendas and minutes for several boards at a time. Sakamoto noted that a requirement for bulk mail outs had to be the same item being mailed; therefore, mailing out several different board agenda/minutes would not qualify for bulk rate. Ure asked that the NCO double check on ways to double up on bulk mail.
2. Training Committee. Nekota noted that her training schedule is on tonight’s agenda for action. Deferred to agenda item.
C. Permitted Interaction Group (PIGroup):
1. Neighborhood Plan Update. Manke reported that Deputy Corporation Counsel Waihe’e’s review of the Plan was slightly delayed. The review is a few days behind schedule but the targeted deadline is still mid-June.
2. Neighborhood Board System Audit Update. Nekota reported that she is preparing her report to the Commission. Chair Tanimoto asked Nekota to touch base with Kathleen Pahinui, Chair of Council’s Audit Task Force who is requesting information about training materials.
3. Neighborhood Assistant (NA) Minute-Taking. Chair Tanimoto explained that at the last Commission meeting in April there was discussion to form a PIGroup for minute-taking as a spin-off from Nekota’s Training Committee. A motion supporting the formation of a PIGroup was carried and discussion to appoint members was deferred at that time. The floor was opened for discussion and for Commissioners to express interest to serve on the PIGroup. Hearing no interest, appointment of members was deferred to the next Commission meeting.
Ching expressed her opposition to the formation of a PIGroup as it circumvents the Sunshine Law. Chair Tanimoto noted that the Commission will approach this matter cautiously and that action on this matter will be taken at a subsequent meeting.
A. Verification of Certified Results of the 2007 Neighborhood Board Election. Pi’ilani Ka’opuiki certified that the results of the 2007 Neighborhood Board Election were valid. After brief discussion, Gall moved that the Commission verify the election results; Apisa seconded. The motion was carried by unanimous consent.
B. Public Hearing Report for Amendment to the Initiative Petition for
C. Public Hearing Report for Amendment to the Initiative Petition for McCully-Mo’ili’ili Neighborhood Board No. 8. Chair Tanimoto reported that he and Manke attended the public hearing. The request was to reduce the number of seats from 17 to 15 and to realign three subdistrict (mauka to makai) boundary lines with 5 seats in each subdistrict. Testimonies given were favorable. Tanimoto recommended support for the Board’s request.
Apisa moved, Sakamoto seconded to approve the amendment to the Initiative Petition for the McCully-Mo’ili’ili Neighborhood Board No. 8; reducing the seats to 15 and realign the 3 subdistricts with 5 seats per subdistrict. Discussion followed regarding the change taking immediate effect, noting that no one will be disenfranchised. It was noted that the board has long awaited this change since the 1990 Census which was 17 years ago. Heinrich’s written testimony noted vacancies in every subdistrict and hopefully the board will begin to fill those vacancies. The motion carried by unanimous consent, 8-0-0. Aye: Apisa, Ching, Gall, Kaahanui, Nekota, Sakamoto, Tanimoto and Young. The change will take effect immediately.
D. Public Hearing Report for Amendment to the Initiative Petition for Ewa Neighborhood Board No. 23. Nekota reported that she attended the Ewa Neighborhood Board public hearing. The request was to amend the Initiative Petition to propose eliminating two subdistrict boundaries, retain the current 11 member seats, and that the entire board be at-large. Her report of chaos and confusion at the public hearing was clear that there was misunderstandings and opposition and that the board was not united in the proposal. Nekota recommended sending the matter back to the Ewa Neighborhood Board. Nekota moved, and Apisa seconded to not approve the amendment to the Initiative Petition and send it back to the Board. No discussion followed. The motion carried by unanimous consent, 8-0-0. Aye: Apisa, Ching, Gall, Kaahanui, Nekota, Sakamoto, Tanimoto and Young.
It was noted that the board is in a good position to begin reapportionment with a growing community and growing population in
E. Approval of Training Schedule. Nekota expressed the importance of training for the Neighborhood Assistants (NAs), board chairs and board members. A training schedule was presented and reviewed by the Commission as follows: June ’07 – Swearing In, Orientation, How to Run a Successful Meeting, Sunshine Law and Parliamentary Procedure; July ’07 – no training; August ’07 - no meetings (recess); September ’07- no training; October ’07 - Running a Meeting / Meeting Tools; November ’07 - no training; December ’07 - no meetings (recess); January ’08 – no meetings (recess); February ’08 – training by request of the Boards according to feedback received; March and April ’08 – no training; and May ’08 – Sunshine Law Training. It was noted that all training will be on DVD and available to all Neighborhood Board members. Concerns were expressed about NAs not being available to cover meeting if NAs are in training sessions. After a brief discussion, Nekota moved to approve the training schedule presented and Young seconded. The motion carried by unanimous consent, , 8-0-0. Aye: Apisa, Ching, Gall, Kaahanui, Nekota, Sakamoto, Tanimoto and Young.
F. Designation of Members for NA Minute-Taking PIGroup. Refer to discussion under Committee Reports item C2.
G. Approval of Regular Meeting Minutes of April 3, 2007. Sakamoto moved, Young seconded to approve the Regular Meeting Minutes of April 3, 2007, as circulated. No discussion followed. The motion carried by unanimous consent, 8-0-0. Aye: Apisa, Ching, Gall, Kaahanui, Nekota, Sakamoto, Tanimoto and Young.
H. Corcoran vs.
Discussion focused on the date of the alleged violation and timeline for filing a complaint. While the timely filing was in question, it was noted that the minutes were not prepared in a timely manner and deadlines were not met by the Neighborhood Commission Office (NCO). Corcoran emphasized the importance to make his point known that there was a violation of the Neighborhood Plan and the Sunshine Law. Apisa acknowledged Corcoran’s complaint and noted that the new Executive Secretary is making every effort to correct these mistakes and improve minute-taking by the NCO staff. Corcoran stated that he recognized that steps are being taken toward improvement and expressed his willingness to withdraw his complaint.
Apisa moved and Young seconded to dismiss the complaint – Corcoran vs Kailua Neighborhood Board dated July 14, 2005. The motion carried by unanimous consent. Aye: Apisa, Ching, Gall, Kaahanui, Nekota, Sakamoto, Tanimoto and Young.
Chair of Neighborhood Board No. 34 testified that she had no prior knowledge of said board member’s illness/absence and did not plan to hold the election in May 2007 for personal gain. The following witnesses were present and testified on behalf of the Chair: Keith Timson, Michael Golojuch, Michele Golojuch and Carolyn Golojuch. Witnesses were questioned by the Chair of Neighborhood Board No. 34 and the Complainant.
It was noted that the Neighborhood Plan does not state that elections must be held specifically in the month of June. In response to the Board Chair’s statement that the agenda and election date received prior approval by the Executive Secretary and the Neighborhood Assistant, Manke advised that this was not the case as she does not approve agendas for any board prior to mail-out.
Sakamoto moved and Gall seconded to move to Executive Session (9:35pm). The motion was carried by unanimous consent. The Commission reconvened at 9:50pm.
Young moved to dismiss the complaint due to the lack of evidence to support the complaint for the reasons that: 1) according to the Neighborhood Plan the election does not have to be held in June for a mid-term election; and that 2) the respondent did not use confidential information gained by reason of her position, as chair, for her personal gain or benefit. Apisa seconded the motion. No further discussion followed. The motion carried, 8-0-0. Aye: Apisa, Ching, Gall, Kaahanui, Nekota, Sakamoto, Tanimoto and Young.
B. Al Furuto thanked Commissioner Tanimoto and Manke for attending the last McCully/Mo’ili’ili Neighborhood Board meeting. Furuto also shared the following concerns: 1) appreciation certificates have not been sent to commend hard working community members that contributed to community safety; 2) he was denied the right to have any input or write an article for his board’s newsletter; and 3) that boundary changes are being made after an election was held for his neighborhood board and parameters given to the public.
C. Jim Corcoran commended the Neighborhood Commission Office and the Commission for an outstanding and drastically improved performance during the past year.
D. Daisy Murai raised interest relating to the McCully/Mo’ili’ili Neighborhood Board recent realignment of boundaries and whether it would affect current board members and the possibility of being placed in another sub-district. She was assured that it would not impact current board members and that there are three vacancies, one in each subdistrict.
NEXT MEETING DATE: Next tentative meeting date is June 25th, 2007, 7:00pm at Kapolei Hale.
ADJOURNMENT: Without any objections, the meeting adjourned at 10:12 p.m.
|Wednesday, July 25, 2007|