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MONDAY, MARCH 23, 2009
REGULAR COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES
530 SOUTH KING SREET,
I. CALL TO ORDER: Commission Chair Grant Tanimoto called the meeting to order at 7:06 p.m.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Sheila Apisa, Clara Ching, Ed Gall, Ron Mobley, Jeanette Nekota, and Grant Tanimoto.
MEMBERS ABSENT: Brendan Bailey (notified absence), Robert Finley (notified absence), and Sylvia Young (notified absence).
GUESTS / STAFF: Jon Chinen (Member, Kailua Neighborhood Board No. 31); Debbi Glanstein (Member,
II. ROLL CALL OF COMMISSIONERS: A roll call of Commissioners was administered, six (6) of nine (9) members were present (Apisa, Ching, Gall, Mobley, Nekota, Tanimoto).
III. MONTHLY REPORTS:
A. Executive Secretary’s Report – Joan Manke:
· Staffing – Linnie Pascual was introduced and welcomed to the NCO staff.
· Update on Complaints – There are 26 pending complaints as of March 2009. A brief overview of some of these complaints included: 1) Eleven (11) pending a pre-hearing date with Corporation Counsel (COR); 2) Five (5) pending where Commission hearing was held, await findings of fact (FOF) from COR; and 3) one pending where a public hearing was held, await pre-hearing memo from COR.
With the adoption of the new Neighborhood Plan and its whole new process, there would no longer be the need for this long process. The focus is to bring these complaints current.
· Two (2) Resolutions introduced in the State House of Representatives – Copies of resolutions were shared for information: 1) HR 282, Urging the Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu to not decrease the number of Neighborhood Boards; and 2) HR 234, Requesting the Kahalu`u Neighborhood Board to convene a Working Group to conduct a Study relating to the Acquisition, Use, and Development of the former Noriko’s Property in Kahalu`u, Oahu.
It was noted that HCR 310 is the companion bill to HR 282. Also, HR 59 and HCR 64 are companion resolutions which refer to the Water, Land, Ocean Committee requesting the City and
· Council Budget Committee Hearing – Presentation made before the Council Budget Committee today included a comparison of FY2008 with FY2010, which are both non-election years. In FY2010, the proposed budget is $907,289, which is a $55,000 (or 6.5%) increase over FY2008. The total proposed amount in current expenses is an increase of approximately $25,000, which is attributed to increased cost for postage, videography and leasing of equipment. There will be no salary increases for the NCO office.
Comments at the Council Budget Committee hearing included the following: 1) Pleased that the NCO maintains (purge once a year) a mailing list for interested persons and agencies to receive neighborhood board agendas and minutes via email resulting in decreased postage costs; 2) Suggested future discussions between the NCO and the Mayor’s office to possibly combine videography costs; and 3) Reference was made to the Mayor’s statement in the State of the City regarding consolidating/reviewing of boundary changes, an issue which must be addressed by the Commission as there is a process in place that requires having public hearings.
Commissioner Gall noted that he drafted a suggested procedure to look at demographics whereby a questionnaire would be sent to all the neighborhood chairs asking them how they feel about representation from the various districts. There was concern about waiting for the 2010 census which is a long way out. It was pointed out that neighborhood boards have judiciously avoided census-based dimensionality. It is more difficult to measure using census tracks as it may cross neighborhood boundaries.
B. Chair’s Report – Chair Tanimoto reported on the status of two remaining legislative bills relating to neighborhood boards: 1) SB 906, relating to public meetings – that expands the ability of a board or commission to facilitate public meetings through available interactive conferencing technology; Judiciary and Government Operations (JGO) passed unamended (referred to JUD, FIN); and 2) HB 1148, relating to public agency meetings; House passed with amendments (referred to JGO).
IV. PUBLIC CONCERNS:
· Ensure that the election time schedule is followed and elections start on time on July 1.
· Request made for the NCO to provide hard copies of the Neighborhood Plan as well as Guidebook to the seated members and to all newly elected members in the upcoming election.
· Neighborhood Plan is outdated as Act 153 is not included which has specific provisions. If it is reprinted, it should include errata which put things in its place to see where the changes have been made (particularly with the quorum and immediate action items) and certainly in the Guidebook.
V. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
A. Regular Meeting – February 23, 2009 – approved without objections.
B. Executive Session – February 23, 2009 – deferred to later portion of agenda.
1. Budget (Sylvia Young, Ron Mobley and Bob Finley) – Chair Tanimoto reported that the lead person, Sylvia Young, is absent. Commissioner Mobley related that Commissioner Young has attempted to schedule a meeting with no other information available. Follow-up will be done with Young upon her return from out of state.
2. Training (Jeanette Nekota and Ron Mobley) – Lead person, Jeanette Nekota, related that the Committee met last month and had some suggestions that are on the meeting agenda. It was duly noted that Commissioner Ching has been serving on the Training Committee.
B. Permitted Interaction Groups (PIGroup)
1. Elections (Brendan Bailey, Ed Gall, Ron Mobley and Grant Tanimoto) – Chair Tanimoto reported that the lead person, Brendan Baily, is absent. Manke reported that the Request for Proposal (RFP) is in progress with a deadline of March 27 for vendors to submit proposals. A three-member panel will review these proposals. There are currently 10 vendors interested in going through the process.
· 414 candidates running this year
· 16 boards have uncontested races
· 17 boards have contested races, of which 8 have contested at-large races or all Subdistricts are contested meaning all voters get a ballot in that board area
· There are 115,458 eligible voters, which is less than what was projected that should result in monetary savings
· Candidate profiles/photos have been posted on the NCO website
· Projected dates for voting is May 6 through May 22; projected Installation on June 27; Take office on July 1
2. Minute-Taking (Sheila Apisa, Ron Mobley and Grant Tanimoto)
Commissioner Apisa reported that a proposal on the matter has been placed on the agenda.
3. Neighborhood Board System Audit (Ed Gall and Ron Mobley)
Commissioner Gall reported the need for one more PIGroup meeting to finalize a draft for dissemination to the Commissioners for comment with the hope of taking action at the April meeting.
VII. COMMISSION BUSINESS:
A. To rescind action taken by the Commission on January 26, 2009 that the Neighborhood Commission, pursuant to the Rules of Procedures of the Neighborhood Plan Section 2-14-104(e) allow neighborhood boards to fill subdistrict vacancies which have been unfilled for at least two regular meetings with qualified residents of the neighborhood board district for a period from January 27, 2009 to the end of the 2009 term
Commissioner Mobley related that the Commission took action that was later deemed as not being legal by Corporation Counsel (COR). Since the announcement was made, it requires a majority of the Commissioners to rescind the action.
Commissioner Mobley moved, and Commissioner Nekota seconded, to rescind the action taken by the Commission on January 26, 2009 that the Neighborhood Commission, pursuant to the Rules of Procedures of the Neighborhood Plan Section 2-14-104(e) allow neighborhood boards to fill sub district vacancies which have been unfilled for at least two regular meetings with qualified residents of the neighborhood board district for a period from January 27, 2009 to the end of the 2009 term.
Heinrich, Chair of the Manoa Neighborhood Board, explained that he drafted this resolution for the Commission. He was unable to pursue this matter in good faith without knowing the reason why COR has deemed this action as not legal. Concern was expressed that if the Commission was to rescind this action, it is appropriate that the reasoning is publicly divulged. If there is a problem with the scope of the rules of the Commission, there is a need to have follow-up discussion so that what was attempted is something that can be done by the Commission now and in the future.
He noted that although he was not able to act on this resolution at the Manoa Neighborhood Board meeting in February, he did fill vacancies with two individuals in his community who came forward as duly qualified without the virtue of an exception. The main point is that a copy of the advisory opinion needs to be made public; otherwise, the grounds for the reversal of this matter will not be known.
A question was raised as to why the reason could not be shared with the audience. Chair Tanimoto indicated that he would want to discuss this question with COR in Executive Session.
There being no further discussion, the motion was ADOPTED by unanimous consent 6-0-0 (AYE: Apisa, Ching, Gall, Mobley, Nekota, Tanimoto).
B. Guidebook for Neighborhood Board Members – Appoint individuals to assist NCO with revising Guidebook – For continuity, a recommendation was made to appoint the same individuals who assisted with the revising the Neighborhood Plan to also assist with revising the Guidebook. The following members were appointed to the Guidebook Permitted Interaction Group (PIGroup): Commissioner Gall, Commissioner Mobley, Tom Smyth and Debbie Glanstein. Hearing no objection, the recommendation was ADOPTED by unanimous consent.
C. Modify Budget Committee to form a PIGroup for the purpose of identifying possible future cost savings in the Neighborhood Commission Office operating budget due to city-wide budgetary constraints and economic downturn
Chair Tanimoto reported the lead person, Sylvia Young, is absent.
Manke provided a brief background stating that the need to review cost savings was initially part of the Budget Committee because it had to do with the Budget. However, in view of the various areas that would be affected, it was felt that a PIGroup would be a more appropriate group to form to handle investigative work, review boundaries, and determine whatever assignments are needed. Other break out groups could be formed to target the different areas that need to be addressed as possible cost savings measures rather than dealing with all of these issues in the Budget Committee. The group would specifically look at the various ideas on how to address the NCO’s operating expense and to cut costs.
Chair Tanimoto noted that Commissioner Young requested the thoughts of those Commissioners present on this matter.
Commissioner Ching expressed her reservations about the PIGroup as it lacks transparency because there are no minutes, no agenda and no notice. Further, it is restricted to only four (4) members and does not allow for all Commissioners to attend.
Comments and concerns followed:
· The Budget Committee must remain a standing committee of the Neighborhood Commission (NC). There must be a specific purpose stated for this PIGroup. It must have the flexibility to gather information, etc. and report back first to the Budget Committee and then to the full Commission.
· Although there are a number of separate issues that could be addressed by PIGroups, the Budget Committee should have a regular meeting schedule throughout the year in order to match up with the City Council’s schedule as well as the Administration’s preparations schedule. The Budget Committee should remain as a standing committee.
· There is a fear that this will result in boundary changes, but this is not the case at all. There will probably be cuts without changing the basic structure of the board. It is believed that this was just a suggestion by the Mayor and not really meant to take place.
· One advantage to the NC is that a PIGroup is not limited to just four (4) members, but it is growing the group beyond the nine (9) Commissioners. Additional work can then be consolidated at the Budget Committee then summarized at the NC meetings.
Chair Tanimoto explained that this concept was previously discussed with Commissioner Young. The Commission will take into consideration all suggestions and comments shared at this meeting.
Chair Tanimoto moved that the Commission retain the Budget Committee and form a PIGroup for the purpose of identifying possible future cost savings in the Neighborhood Commission Office operating budget due to city-wide budgetary constraints and economic downturn and that the PIGroup will report to the Budget Committee, which was ADOPTED, 6-0-0 (Aye: Apisa, Ching, Gall, Mobley, Nekota, Tanimoto).
D. Complaint # 0402-5-6 (filed February 13, 2004)
Linda Wong vs. Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St.
Adoption of Findings of Fact (FOF) dated March 5, 2009 to Sustain Complaint
Manke provided a brief overview on this complaint which was filed 5 years ago by Linda Wong and has gone through the complaints process. A complaints hearing was held before the Neighborhood Commission on January 11, 2005. Action was taken at that time where the complaint was sustained. There was acknowledgement that the leadership on the neighborhood board has changed since the time of allegations. There was no opinion provided regarding alleged Sunshine law violations; however, there was an admission by the neighborhood board regarding order and decorum issues. It was noted at that time that training in order and decorum and parliamentary procedure had taken place. The Commission recommended no further imposition of remedies.
The FOF recently received from COR restated the results of the complaint hearing held in 2005. In the FOF, the Decision and Order states that the complaint filed by Linda Wong is sustained as to the allegation that Knauer addressed Ross and Wong in an inappropriate manner in violation of the Revised Neighborhood Plan.
It was noted that the current board chair and complainant were invited to today’s meeting and were in attendance. A brief discussion followed including remarks by Barbara Miller and details of the complaint. Chair Tanimoto explained that the FOF is now before the Commission for adoption so that complaint # 0402-5-6 can be closed.
Commissioner Nekota moved, and Commissioner Mobley seconded, to accept the FOF submitted by the COR for the complaint hearing held on January 11, 2005 to sustain the complaint, which was ADOPTED, 6-0-0 (Aye: Apisa, Ching, Gall, Mobley, Nekota, Tanimoto).
E. Adoption of Agenda Template and Minute-Taking Guidelines, Policies and Procedures for Neighborhood Boards with Re-evaluation after a 6-month Period
The Commission reviewed the Agenda Template and Minute-Taking Guidelines and related Policies & Procedures for Neighborhood Boards as proposed by the Minute-Taking PIGroup.
Commissioner Apisa moved, and Commissioner Mobley seconded, that both items be considered for adoption and used for 6-months with a Re-evaluation after this period. Discussion followed as copies were distributed to the audience.
It was explained that the proposed templates would basically standardize the formatting of the agenda and minutes to allow for consistency among the 33 neighborhood boards. This would enable the Neighborhood Commission Office (NCO) to complete the minutes in a timely fashion with a faster turnaround to the Chair. This process will not take away from the Chair’s authority to rearrange any item on the agenda in accordance with the Robert’s Rules of Order (RRO) Newly Revised, 10th edition.
The following concerns were raised and duly noted:
· The timing of the new Agenda Template and Minute-Taking Guidelines was felt to be an issue. It was suggested to align the implementation of the templates with the newly elected Chairs on July 1st or August 1st. The intent of this would be to avoid the July interruption with ample time for training and set up.
· A set agenda template would circumvent the authority of each board to determine its own agenda based on the interests and needs of its own community. Sections 2-13-102, 2-14-111, 2-I4-123, and 2-14-112 of the Neighborhood Plan were cited as the proposed agenda template would not be in accordance with these provisions and that public hearings should be held before action can be taken.
· Placement of elected officials reports (i.e. Mayor’s Representative) ahead of the resident/community concerns is unacceptable as this would allow these representatives to leave at the beginning of the meeting.
· Do not adopt both templates but rather approve the templates and send to Boards for comment. Ask experienced Chairs to come back with an evaluation and not a re-evaluation.
· As each board is unique by its definition, geography, constituency and is different even from its closest neighbors; it was felt that the agenda template would diminish an appreciation for these differences and further distance the Commission from the boards. For the Commissioners to better understand the differences and similarities between boards, a suggestion was made to have the Commissioners start attending neighborhood board meetings.
· A Commissioner noted having attended 13 separate board meetings and recognized that the NCO staff is not utilized effectively with the different formats being used by each board.
· It was noted that in past meetings, most of the people attending the board meetings want to hear the elected official reports and they want all those reports up front.
· A question was raised as to whether the Commission can tell boards to follow the agenda format.
· A recommendation was made to change the wording of “re-evaluation” to “evaluation.”
· A suggestion was made to amend the initial motion into two separate motions: 1) Minute-Taking Guidelines, and 2) Agenda Template.
Commissioner Apisa moved, and Commissioner Mobley seconded, that the Commission consider the adoption of the Minute-Taking Guidelines, Policies and Procedures for Neighborhood Boards with an evaluation after a 6-month period starting with May 2009 meetings, which was ADOPTED, 6-0-0 (Aye: Apisa, Ching, Gall, Mobley, Nekota, Tanimoto).
Commissioner Apisa moved, and Commissioner Mobley seconded, that the Commission consider the adoption of the Agenda Template with an evaluation for a 6-month period starting with May 2009 meetings, which was ADOPTED, 5-0-1 (Aye: Apisa, Gall, Mobley, Nekota, Tanimoto; Abstain: Ching).
VIII. EXECUTIVE SESSION: The Commission went into Executive Session at 9:00 p.m. and reconvened at 9:15 p.m.
IX. COMMISSIONERS ROUNDTABLE:
Commissioner Gall commented that the “Roundtable” provides the opportunity to commissioners to bring up items of concern – similar to “Public Concerns.” Concerns were raised whether these Roundtable issues will be properly noticed and made transparent. It was felt that the Commission may want to pass this item through the Office of Information Practices (OIP).
Commissioner Ching noted her concern regarding the Conference of Chair (COC). When the Neighborhood Plan was developed, it specifically stated that the COC was limited to only two commission members. With a possibility of a COC in August, Commissioner Ching asked whether there are any reasons why all the Commissioners cannot attend because this is one of the fiduciary responsibilities of the Commission. Commissioner Ching’s concern was duly noted.
Glanstein recognized a project that the Kailua Neighborhood Board No. 31 has undertaken since November, 2008. Each board member would donate two cans of non-perishable goods and other items which have been donated to organizations such as the Homeless Alliance, Hale Ola women’s shelter and St. Anthony’s Food bank. It was recommended that this project be reviewed by the City Ethics Commission to be certain that neighborhood boards can conduct this type of activity.
XI. ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 9:15 p.m.
|Wednesday, April 22, 2009|