Monday, December 3, 2012

Musings: Political Shifts

So nice to wake to the shush and drip of rain, to a shift in the unseasonably dry, hot weather.

Another shift occurs today when the recently elected county officials are sworn in. It's out with the old and in with the new as Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho and Councilmen Dickie Chang and KikuKai Kualii are replaced by Prosecutor Justin Kollar and Councilmen Ross Kagawa and Gary Hooser. Otherwise, the line up remains the same.

Will anything change? Time will tell, but I'm pretty sure we'll see less drama in the Office of Prosecuting Attorney, and more Council members grandstanding in a bid to position themselves for the 2014 mayoral race.

The Police Commission, meanwhile, has changed its mind and decided to appeal Judge Randal Valenciano's decision that Mayor Bernard Carvalho had the authority to suspend Chief Darryl Perry last February. I was told that two commissioners wanted to approve an appeal at the Nov. 14 meeting, when it was voted down, but were intimidated by the presence of the mayor, an ex-officio member of that panel.

Apparently, they collected their courage in the last two weeks. Charlie Iona, who had been absent from the Nov. 14 meeting due to heart surgery, added his vote to the affirmative at last Friday's session.

The Garden Island reports that the commission will be asking the County Council for money to fund the appeal, though Corlis Chang of Goodsill Anderson Quinn and Stifel reportedly had offered to do it pro bono before the first vote was taken.

It's unfortunate that the mayor chose to turn his disappointment about the most recent vote into a personal attack on the integrity of some commissioners:

Carvalho said he spoke with the police commissioners when the challenge was first raised, and said they agreed to take the matter to court and to stand by judge’s decision.

“We don’t always have to agree, but it’s disturbing to me that I can no longer depend on the word of some of the commissioners,” Carvalho added. “Finally, an appeal will add cost, which the taxpayers of Kaua‘i will ultimately pay, to this already costly exercise.”

Appeals are part and parcel of the judicial process. Commissioners should be free to make decisions as they see fit, based on the public's best interest, not bound by a behind-the-scenes promise to the mayor.

Speaking of the public, how come we weren't given a chance to vote on this issue? It came before the Charter Review Commission, but never made it onto the November ballot. It seems the voting booth would have been the appropriate place to determine whether the citizens of Kauai feel the mayor should have absolute authority.

Of course, it's easy to see the reason behind the mayor's irritation. He wants Darryl to beat it, but that ain't gonna happen so long as an appeal is alive, giving the Chief a shot at vindication.

Meanwhile, it's my understand that the employee complaint that started this avalanche has yet to be resolved. Is the county going to end up spending thousands more on another EEOC settlement because of its slow response to a worker's charge?

Now that we have a Human Resources Manager — Janine Rapozo, who was appointed to that position on July 1 —  as well as an EEOC/ADA Coordinator  Linda Nuland, who started sometime in August — perhaps we can avoid another public brawl between the chief and mayor over an employee's workplace complaint. Because these HR professionals are supposed to know how to handle such matters promptly and efficiently, right?


Anonymous said...

Right on!

Anonymous said...

It's not over till the incompetents sing!

Snitch you Rats! Snitch on them dirty bastards!

Elaine Albertson said...

It's unfortunate that the mayor had to be so definitive in his dismay that the commissioners were not completely "in line" and loyal to him. That is not their job, and in fact it is antithetical to their job. The Police Commission is one of several controls in place to prevent the unbridled wielding of power by the mayor. I felt the appeal was a no-brainer from the start. Anyone who passed high school English should be able to read the charter provision correctly...unless, of course, you want it to mean something else.

Anonymous said...

Yes, right on! The OPA has been a lawless haven.

Too often victims seeking relief, justice, and safety from the former Prosecutor were left with nothing more than severe bad options, a worse optoin was decided.

Anonymous said...

Why was the chief suspended? Maybe the Police Commission would agree with the decision and ratify the suspension. Let's have a publicly televised police commission meeting with the mayor laying out why the chief should be suspended and the chief defending himself. Now that's entertainment.

Anonymous said...

You could read past blogs by Joan or read yesterday's blog on Andy parx news. We got a bunch of sand box kids running this fouled up thing. This is a total disgrace of time honored positions and it's being degraded by unqualified puppets.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me? They are not HR Professionals. They are political appointees - - no qualifications required.