Thursday, December 16, 2010

Musings: Move Forward

The air was chilly and mist clung thickly to the pastures when Koko and I went out walking this fine morning, the garbage truck wheezing and clanking behind us. The stars gradually disappeared as the day brightened, revealing a wispy cloud adorning Waialeale's flat summit and a mist lake in the hollows between the cinder cones. But Venus, shining first yellow, then white, was undeterred, even as the sun announced its arrival with a splashy scarlet-orange light show in the east.

After much splashy reporting about how the County Clerk makes more than the mayor, The Garden Island finally got around to reporting today that the Prosecutor and County Auditor do, too, and that the deputy county attorneys and deputy clerk also received raises in 2009, when the mayor and his department heads were foregoing theirs. It does not, however, mention that the Administration’s raises will be going into effect on July 1, 2011, at which time the mayor will be making more than everyone.

And just as an aside, why should the mayor necessarily be making more than either the Clerk or the prosecutor, both of whom are better educated and have more actual government experience than Bernard Carvalho?

But what really irked me were the comments that Councilman Tim Bynum — if correctly reported — made in the paper’s lead article about the ongoing controversy over the process followed in giving County Clerk Peter Nakamura that raise. (Curiously, nothing has been said about the process followed in granting raises to the deputy clerk, auditor and prosecutor. Is this just a witch hunt against Peter?)

In short, Tim came out looking not only like a weakling, but to anyone familiar with the issue, disingenuous. Take this, for example:

In a “media statement” last week, [Council Chair Jay] Furfaro said Bynum voted in favor of measures concerning Nakamura’s pay raise twice, once when receiving the commission’s communication and again when approving the FY11 budget.

As shown in the minutes of the council’s Sept. 23, 2009, meeting, Bynum seconded the motion made by Chang to receive the communication regarding the commission’s resolution.

“Seconding is meaningless to me,” said Bynum, adding that he didn’t recall doing so.

But as I previously reported, Tim not only seconded the motion, he and the other Councilmembers voted unanimously to accept the Salary Commission’s recommendation, which clearly set forth raises for the Clerk and his deputy, the County Auditor, the County Prosecutor and her deputies, and the Council.

As I also reported, based on a review of the Sept. 23, 2009 minutes, County Attorney Al Castillo specified that if the Council received the Salary Commission’s resolution that day, “it’s approved” and could then only be amended by the Commission. So how can Tim then claim he never approved the raise? Was he napping during Al's comments?

Tim then goes on to say:

“Receiving a communication is not endorsing all of its content,” Bynum said. “Voting for a budget is not a ‘recommendation from the appointing authority.’ Council members accept provisions all the time that have elements or portions they are not in agreement with.”

That’s another crock. Al clearly told the Council that it had the power to accept or reject any part of the Salary Commission’s resolution, which means Tim could have made a motion to turn down any one or all of the raises. Instead, he did nothing, which brings us to the weakling part:

“I didn’t make that motion because it would’ve been argumentative,” said Bynum, noting that he had been having other differences with Asing. “If I go on the floor and make motions that I know are going to be defeated over and over again, that means I’m going to be more an outsider.”

Bynum said he could have — and maybe should have — spoken up about the pay raise when it was before the council, but was concerned about being seen by his colleagues as grand-standing.

Oh, please, Tim. First, what kind of an elected official are you if you’re too afraid to speak up? And second, so wat, now you’re not worried about being argumentative or grandstanding as you take your case to the newspaper?

Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura, who began beating this drum after she and Tim lost the vote to hire an executive search team to find a new Clerk, backs him up by saying, “it’s hard to think of everything in the moment. Sometimes you still should make motions, even if you don’t have support.”

Yes, especially if you’re later going to be bitching to the paper way after the fact about how the process wasn’t followed and you didn’t support the raises. Tim also tries to make himself look good by claiming he didn’t want the pay raise he voted to give himself:

“I tried to give it back,” he said, adding that the charter forbid it.

Well, guess what, Tim. Peter is similarly forbidden to give back his raise.

And then there was all this hoohaw about Peter’s evaluation, when it appears that Peter’s biggest shortcoming is working too hard and too much. I also found it quite interesting that Tim alleged that Peter’s personnel file contained no evaluation. Is it legal or ethical for Tim to be publicly discussing the contents of Peter’s personnel file, a private matter that the state sunshine law specifically allows to be taken up in a closed session?

Meanwhile, apparently unsatisfied with the front page stories she's been garnering, JoAnn also pled her case today in a lenthy letter to the editor, where she she says she "I will certainly apologize publcily if I am wrong." Oh, how big of you. Do you think that will undo the damage that's already been done to Peter's repuation, JoAnn?

On another note, Council Chairman Jay Furfaro told me that he’s going to be moving toward getting more Council documents on line. But it isn’t something that can happen overnight, he said, because the Council has to invest in the right scanners and other equipment, train staff and also set policy guidelines for posting and removing documents to reflect the changes that bills go through as they move through the process.

Jay also promised all Councilmembers access to the agenda, which should soothe one of Tim’s ongoing complaints. “I don’t see myself kicking anything off the agenda,” Jay said. “Better to discuss it and get it out for a thorough review.”

Maybe now with Jay running the show Tim won’t be afraid to make motions and he can more effectively serve the people who elected him, as well as those who didn’t.

Anyway, it’s like Councilman Mel Rapozo told me the other day: JoAnn and Tim lost the vote on Peter and now they need to move forward with the will of the majority.

If there was any procedural mistake, it likely was committed by former Chair Kaipo Asing, who is no longer on the Council and can’t be punished, anyway. So how much time and energy is the Council going to spend on this issue, which is over a year old, when it has so many more pressing issues before it?


Anonymous said...

It's JoAnn and Tim that are "beating a dead horse". As Joan said, "move forward". Procedurally flawed perhaps...but even on that they disagree. Peter has been reappointed...move on.

I totally agree with your assessment that Tim was being "disingenuous" and a "weakling". What he doesn't get is that he is an "outsider" and his vendetta against Peter is making him even more so. Running to the press to make his point because he is ineffective in the council is distasteful and furthers his outsider status. Let's face it, the staff at TGI will distort the truth as a mouthpiece for Tim. JoAnn, she should drop this like a hot potato!!

Who the hell trusts the local paper anyway.

Anonymous said...

club, meet dead horse

Anonymous said...

Good job Joan. You have once again shown that your dislike for Tim Bynum continues to distort d overwhelm anyour perspective on all matters council. Not sure if it is the coastal path issue or the tvr issue or some twisted racial bias against another caucasion, but whew! You cannot diguise your dislike of him and now since Joann is on his side, your sights are set on her also. It is like Tim single handedly is responsible for both the tvr and the coastal path issues and is the only councilmember involved. What about the others in the majority on these issues Joan? And, you really should do your homework on the workings of the council Joan. If you knew how the council worked you would know that when the council votes to "receive" what that essentially means is to "file". Letters/communications come in daily on various items and the Council will vote to receive them which is official acknowledgement that they have been received and filed. "Receiving" does not mean approving the contents in any way shape form or manner. Take a look at the volume of communications the council votes to receive and you will see what I mean. And Jay is going to make more documents available online. Well that is great news. Where was Jay these past two years when Tim and Lani were trying to make this happen? Matter of fact where was the County Clerk? The Clerk could have initiated and done this years ago if he wanted to. But nooo. Let's shoot the messenger who risks telling it like it is and shoot Joann too. The two most honest hardest working most dedicated people on the Council willing to speak truth to power and you demonize them. Wake up Joan and acknowledge the color of your glasses. Why not pick on Dickie, or Derik? Because they are quiet and polite and humble? Too much for me. Don't know why I even read this any more as it is so predictable.

Anonymous said...

hopefully jay maybe able to provide some insight into this affair today on KKCR"s Out of the Box" 5pm on KKCR 91.9fm or

Anonymous said...

The salary commission decided that department heads that make six figures should be regularly evaluated and REQUIRED the documents as a condition of raises. If those conditions are not met and then covered up I think it is a big deal. I'm glad someone will reveal the truth.

Anonymous said...

I wish Tim and Lani would sign their names to their posts. It is so obvious that they are posting. Good grief.

Joan Conrow said...

If you knew how the council worked you would know that when the council votes to "receive" what that essentially means is to "file".

I understand that. But in this case, as both the County Attorney and I made clear, receiving the salary commission's resolution did indeed mean that it was approved intact.

As for predictable, you've used that "good job, Joan" followed by a bash how many times now?

Anonymous said...

When you second a motion, doesn't it mean that you support it? When you don't try to change the resolution and vote to approve it, doesn't it mean that you support it? Politicians! And why do Tim, Jay and Joann have to talk about everything on the agenda? Is it a kind of Tourete's syndrome?

Anonymous said...

Egos front and center. Less talking more listening would help. I enjoy Kawakami...his comments are well thought out. Less about him more inclusive less "I,I,I".

Anonymous said...

aloha joan, wish you could've asked jay some follow up questions during today's show.
kudos to jay for 'feeding' the media info about the surrounding issues. his press packet that he submitted to the GINews to 'compliment' the LTE by joann and the e.mails sent by tim and joann explaining their positions was at least 15 pages thick full of the public records addressing the concerns about the process and action taken so far.
his position during the radio show was that this is a 'personnel' issue and not to be aired in the papers, blogs or on our community radio. a human resource committee will be looking into this and executive sessions will leave us asking more questions and still not getting answers.
jay took extra efforts to provide info to GINews and KKCR to keep this simmering and not boiling over. if asked i'm sure he'd provide you w/ a copy of the press packet. the actions of this chair would've been unheard of in the reign of the reclusive kaipo.
maybe next week we can get tim and joann's side of the story:)
malama pono,.....jt

Anonymous said...

No birds were killed in this 400th impassioned defense of the indefensible. Just how much will you bleat on about this when your real issue is you are pissed about the TVR bill?

Anonymous said...

The real issue is that tim and joann can't stand that they lost the vote to oust Peter. It must be Tim posting blabbering about he and JY are the best of the best, who the f--k else would care to write that kind of crap. And funny how they blame Joan for shedding light on the truth rather than tims side only like his friend Andy. No Tim, i'm afraid it's far more than tvr's or the bike path that pisses us off, it's your lying conniving, iii stuff that is bothersome. There is more to transparancy than publishing documents... tim's transparant as could be, he wants to cause trouble period.JY must be suffering from menopausal depression.
Both of them have violated Peter's privacy rights. What say, good point too Joan, they are only after Peter for the salary raise, and not the others. Yes, Tim and JY's motives are very transparant

Carly Foxtrot said...

Joan said,
"Oh, please, Tim. First, what kind of an elected official are you if you’re too afraid to speak up?"

Answer - a typical politician! Why pick on poor Tiny Tim? Fortunately In many respects, information has never been so free. There are more ways to spread more ideas to more people than at any moment in history. Even in authoritarian countries, information networks are helping people discover new facts and making governments more accountable. Thanks Joan esp for your support of Wikileaks.

Anonymous said...

So he got a raise when the rest of the county was furloughed. So he got paid $50 grand for not taking vacations. So he cost the county $250 grand for sexually harassing another county employee. At least he didn't kill anybody.

Anonymous said...

Depends what motion is being seconded. If the motion is to approve then it would seem that the second is also an indication of approval but not always. Could be the second it just a curtesy vote to allow the item to get to the floor. Short answer is a move to second a motion is not necessarily an indication of support.

Anonymous said...

nobody died. Money owed, work done, raise legit. Get over it - stop wasting time and start doing the job you were elected to do.

MAKE GOOD DECISIONS with OUR money. Do right or get out of the way.

Anonymous said...

What about a second followed by a vote in favor of the motion?