Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Musings: Dangerous Concept

There was a time this morning, a brief time, when a half-moon was shining through strands and wisps of white, when the Big Dipper was scooping up stars over Makaleha, when a scarlet-orange smear appeared in the eastern horizon, tinting the mountains rose, the trees gold. And then the cloud cover dropped down and everything went gray.

A similar process occurred yesterday at the Kauai Police Department, where Monday's stilted bonhomie between Chief Darryl Perry, Mayor Bernard Carvalho and the police commission disintegrated into the gloom of heated phone calls, tense meetings, squabbles and unabated power struggles. More on that in a minute.

Meanwhile, I've learned that an employee in the county Prosecutor's office recently filed multiple workplace complaints against Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho and other staff in that office, creating a situation very similar to the one involving Officer Darla Abatiell-Higa and KPD.

But in this most recent case, the County Attorney's office directed the Prosecutor's office to place the employee on leave pending an investigation, rather than suspend those named in the complaint.

This raises troubling questions about why the mayor chose to get personally involved in the KPD case, to the point of defaming, humiliating and suspending the chief, who was ordered to put Assistant Chiefs Roy Asher and Ale Quibilan, who were named in the complaint, on leave pending an investigation. Yet a completely different tact was taken with Shay and her office.

It's also interesting to note that when a planning department employee filed a workplace complaint, she was placed on leave pending an investigation, not the staff implicated in the complaint.

Why did the mayor force a very public upheaval at KPD, but not in these other county departments? Do you suppose politics and power plays could have anything to do with it?

It seems the mayor's declaration upon returning the chief to work Monday — “through discussion with the [police] commission we have reached a place of consensus on how the department should be managed beginning today” — meant essentially Bernard planned to be in charge.

So he wasn't too pleased to discover the chief had brought Quibilan and Asher back to work yesterday.

With Deputy Chief Mike Contrades still off-island and Assistant Chief Mark Begley missing in action since the chief returned, it seems Perry felt he needed more help running the department than the mayor's designees — County Attorney Al Castillo and Managing Director Gary Heu — could provide.

But the mayor managed to re-assert his authority by requiring the chief to get approval from Castillo in order to have the county's IT guys return computer hard drives to Asher and Quibilan and restore their access. Ho boy....

And the public is left wondering how, and when, is this dysfunctional mess going to be resolved? Who is going to hire the outside counsel that will help clarify to the mayor and chief exactly who is empowered to do what?

The Charter Review Commission is set on Monday to take up the issue of whether the charter needs to be revised to clarify the powers, duties and functions of the mayor's office in regard to KPD. Councilman Mel Rapozo submitted testimony in opposition, saying:

It is my belief that the Hawaii Revised Statutes clearly set up the police commissions to isolate the police departments from the political powers of local governments. Can you imagine if any of the Mayors retained the powers to control their respective police departments? This could be a very dangerous concept.

Yes, it could, and as we're seeing it play out here on Kauai, it is.


Anonymous said...

I've heard that one of the truly valuable civil servants has recently resigned in the prosecutors office.

What's up with that Shay?

Anonymous said...

I fail to understand the controversy and confusion of the role of the mayor over the police department. The County of Kauai Charter, which everyone is able to access at clearly defines such powers.

Here is the meat of the matter:

Section 11.02. Police Commission.

"The police commission shall consist of seven members appointed by the mayor with the approval of the council."

Section 11.04. Chief of Police.

"The chief of police shall be appointed by the police commission. He may be removed by the police commission only after being given a written statement of the charges against him and a hearing before the commission."

There is good reason and history for this separation of powers between the mayor (administration) and police department--to prevent the mayor from obtaining control over a paramilitary force and become a dictator.

Anonymous said...

will try to pose as her own employee and discredit this one too?

Anonymous said...

I think the mayor is too chicken to take on Shay! lol

Anonymous said...

Inconsistencies in their human resource policies/procedures. Sounds like each dept handles things differently...setting themselves up for multiple lawsuits.

Anonymous said...

KPD has the Police Commission to hold them accountable and the Prosecutors/Planning Office has the ..... the.... mmmmm.... Hmmmm... Isn't Mayor Carvalho supposed to step in at some point to demand accountability for these other departments?

Anonymous said...

"Then, on Jan. 2, 2002, Deputy County Attorney Laurel Loo wrote Freitas advising he could return to work the following Monday,
The Police Commission, which is the only entity that can, under the County Charter, hire and fire and suspend and reinstate a police chief, did not vote to put Freitas back to work. The County Attorney’s Office reinstated Freitas without a vote of the Police Commission." Kusaka had the police commission suspend Frietas, but had her county attorney let him back to work. There are some similarities, and precedent.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering how a Police Commissioner can post something like this on his Facebook page and then maintain that he can be unbiased when he's hearing the results of the complaint. Do they know "the truth" already? Is the complainant guilty in their eyes? Why is the commission "fighting for these fine men" instead of seeking the facts and then making a measured judgment? Shouldnt they have to recuse themselves from this matter if this is their open opinion?

Charlie Iona
Today I reflect back and realize that all has come to past. Chief Darryl Perry, Assistant Chief Roy Asher, and Assistant Chief Ale Quibilan are back at work at Kauai Police Department. Those who know the truth know why they are back to work and how deeply they are needed for the community. To the people of Kauai, thank you for your continual encouragement to the commission to keep fighting for ...these fine men. They didn't deserve what was done to them and that is why I, along with the other commissioners stood together and sounded our beliefs in this matter so we could continue the fight. Ultimately we will have to have an authoritative figure like the courts decide on the powers of the police commission and mayor. But until then, we shroud protection around these fine men as they do the same for the people of Kauai.

Anonymous said...

He doesn't even know he is a misogynist.

Anonymous said...

Joan's blog posts have become redundant and boring. Almost always negative and more cursing as of late. Time to delete from my bookmarks.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:58AM-

You go ahead and delete your bookmark then. Joan seems to be uncovering some pertinent information that TGI hasn't covered. Kauai Eclectic is my homepage.

Anonymous said...

I think Joan's blog is exciting to read most everyday. There is always up to date info, not just what she's told by the county. She takes up extra controversial issues and people. Yep Joan, keep it up, your writing is enlightening and interesting and provocative everyday. Mahalo

Joan Conrow said...

Thanks for the words of support!

Anonymous said...

The funny thing is, I'm a Shay and Perry supporter, a Mel Rapozo supporter, a Jay Furfaro supporter, a Carvalho and Al Castillo hater, a Joann Yukimura hater, and a Tim Bynum hater.

But i'm also a Joan Conrow supporter :) Keep doing what you do

Anonymous said...

"The funny thing is, I'm a Shay and Perry supporter, a Mel Rapozo supporter, a Jay Furfaro supporter, a Carvalho and Al Castillo hater, a Joann Yukimura hater, and a Tim Bynum hater."

you are an alien

Joan Conrow said...

To 1:39 pm

Thanks for your encouragement, and I do plan to keep doing what I do!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Darla Abbatiello, Mark Begley, Hank Barriga, Bernard Carvalho, Al Castillo, Gary Heu, & Justin Kollar... your masterplan of evil will not work! The GOOD is overcoming your evil and has strengthened the bond, trust, and commitment of Chief Darryl Perry, Deputy Chief Michael Contrades, Assistant Chiefs Roy Asher & Alejandre Quibilan, and the entire Kaua'i Police Department. "The GOOD" will make KPD better for the people of Kaua'i.