City officials hold Ethics Commission meetingUPDATED 8:06 PM HST Jan 06, 2014Video Transcript
commission tonight... But the air might not be much clearer tonight... Tension has been growing between the administration and the head of the commission .. KITV4's Catherine Cruz joining us now with the latest It's a head scratcher. The mayor's talked alot about transparency and accountability. So why stonewall requests for information? - Donna Leong 26:32-26: 35 -"Corruption has no place in govt" A blunt statement from the city's top lawyer. And it's what drives the City ethics commission and its executive director Chuck Totto. But it doesnt explain his frustration over months of delays in getting information. For Totto.. It's about access. He believes he needs to followup on the growing number of ethics complaints and doesnt understand why mayor Kirk Caldwell's administration has been slow to respond. - Totto 8 36- 8:50 -"Staff's posiiton is, as long as we have legal authority and the information we request is reasonable relevant to alledged misconduct that we are allowed to look at electronic files," Human Resources director Carolee Kubo has refused to turn over the info citing privacy concerns. Kubo noted there have been cases where emails included labor contract information which is considered confidential - Carolee Kubo 33:32 - 33: 36 - "I need to protect the privacy rights of employees and I can't have them witch-hunting on employees on everything under the sun. They should tell me waht we are looking for and we will provide it" But some commissioners are uncomfortable with having city managers screen the information. Totto fears in the process of footdragging evidence found in emails have already been destroyed. Another case in point: complaints about the company that manages The Bus. City transporation manager Mike Formby defended his department' efforts to investigate complaints. - Formby 37:56 -38:02 "This is how much time we spent. We thoroughly investigated it. We met, we discussed it." Forby said the probe didnt uncover anything actionable, but it did prompt the department and Oahu Transit Serives to begin crafting an ethics standard and a conflict-of-interest policy, as well as a formal process to investigate complaints. The commission is also questioning why the corporation counsel is offering ethics advice to city workers, something the commission wants to handle. But the city's top lawyer sees no problem there. - Donna leong 58:17 - 58:26 - "Not to do what the mayor wants or what the council wants it is to do what is the best interest of the people of the city and county of Honolulu.The law is the law," Some members aren't buying that. - Rachel Wong 52: 36- 52:45 -"It's seems like the cleanest route is to provide staffing rather than to take it upon yourself to be supportive in a way that wasnt asked for that's the trouble that I am having," The city administration has denied a budget request for additional ethics commission staff. One thing that did get cleared up is that the city's IT department is willing to put a hold on emails so they don't get destroyed if there is a dispute over what should be turned over. Yunji?