In what reads as a blatant power grab, the Kauai County Council is proposing sweeping changes to the County Charter that would extend their terms, install a county manager and strip the mayor of all administrative authority.
Uh, why? Because the Council is doing such a great job that it should be given even more control over county government?
The Council will take up the proposed changes in the form of a resolution at Wednesday's committee meeting, where it will also consider two bills regulating homestays/B&Bs. One measure would prohibit them outside of the Visitor Destination Area.
Council Chair Mel Rapozo introduced the charter resolution, which was opposed only by Councilmen Ross Kagawa and Arryl Kaneshiro. The others justified it as a way to take the politics out of county government. Mmm, like the Council — and this very proposal — isn't uber political?
If the resolution is approved, the proposed charter changes would go before the voters in the November election.
The proposed charter changes would eliminate the current checks and balances in the county system by giving the Council authority to hire and oversee a County Manager, who would handle all the administrative duties now allocated to the Mayor. The Mayor would become a voting member of the Council, preside over meetings “and perform other duties specified by the Council.”
The changes would give the Council power to “appoint a county manager for an indefinite term and fix the manager’s compensation.”
The county manager would have broad powers, including to appoint and remove the police chief and planning director — authority now held by the police and planning commissions, respectively.
The county manager also would be authorized to propose salaries for all elected officials and non-civil service employees — a duty now held by the salary commission.
Furthermore, “all rules and regulations having the effect of law adopted by any board, commission, or administrative head of a department, must first be approved by the county manager prior to going into effect.”
The resolution also proposes:
At the 2018 general election, six Councilmembers shall be elected at large: the three (3) candidates receiving the greatest number of votes shall serve for four-year terms, and the three (3) candidates receiving the next greatest number of votes shall serve for two-year terms. Commencing at the 2020 general election and at all subsequent general elections, all Councilmembers shall be elected for four-year terms. No person shall be elected to the Council for more than two consecutive four-year terms.
This would allow Rapozo and Councilman JoAnn Yukimura, who are ready to term-out, to serve another eight years.
The mayor also would be elected to a four-year term, with the Council picking “a deputy mayor who shall act as mayor and chairperson during the absence or disability of the mayor and, if a vacancy occurs, shall become mayor for the remainder of the unexpired term. No person shall be elected to the office of mayor for more than two consecutive four-year terms.”
The changes also state:
The Council shall be the judge of the qualifications of its members and for that purpose shall have power to subpoena witnesses, take testimony, and require the production of records.
Though Council members and the mayor would have to be residents of Kauai for two years before seeking office, the county manager wouldn't even have to live in the state at the time of appointment so long as he/she established residency within 90 days of being hired.
Meanwhile, the Council will return to the contentious issue of homestays. Bill 2916 would set up a permitting process for the uses and restrict them to the VDA.
Bill 2609 also sets up a permitting process. It allows homestays outside of the VDA, but prohibits them in the open and agricultural zones. The 10-per-year cap proposed by the planning department has been removed. Yukimura is expected to introduce further amendments that would allow those who have been operating without a permit to get one.
The County Manager proposal is INSANE.
ouch, sounds like a terrible idea, the council has done a seriously lousy job, why should they be given more power? Reject this shibai.
This is absurd! Sounds like the council is wanting to give itself and the county manager way too much power. An indefinite term for the county manager?? Not sure the rationale for this resolution except for the council trying to claim more power. Turning the mayor into a council member, wtf?
How to hamstring the Mayor, remove all power, make his job ceremonious and make him have to sit at council all day, council chooses his vice mayor, so it could be someone the Mayor doesn't even work well with.Who cares, no decisions or work required from the new Mayor, just sing or be a smiling ceremonious figurehead. Meanwhile, the new CM gets a lifetime appointment for someone not even from here, someone who knows nothing about Kauai life, people and culture. Lifetime appointment for the council rather than the people getting to vote who leads the county, wow, and no checks and balances, just the council votes and it becomes law. Why, oh just shut up you stupid voter who can't be trusted to vote for your Mayor, Glenn and Ken think it is a good idea and they cant stop blabbering about it. Why, for Mel? Why, Bernard can't run again anyway. Why would the council even consider this, POWER, lots of it, but why would the voters consider it, STUPIDITY, or cause Flint removing its Mayor and using a County Manager has worked so well there?
Shelf it council, I will only vote for those that are not so power hungry, and those that vote NO to the County Manager proposal.
This Council cannot even hire a Auditor and they want to hire a County Manager. These transplants who want a County Manager should go back to there Utopias they came from. This same Council who talks about accountability gave all County employees a pay raise except for 9 employees who are not favorites of the Council members. They said it wasn't personal but look at the whole picture. They gave over $500,000 to the top tiers and refused $70,000 for the bottom tiers. We need 7 new faces this year.
The voters put in term limits. This Council wants to do away with term limits, hiding under the county manager issue. What's wrong with that picture?
The Council would run both the legislative side and the administration. What could go wrong?
When we negotiate for a share of state resources, we have a mayor with no administrative authority or a manager with no political authority--unlike every other county. What could go wrong?
Standard procedure is for licensed county managers to bring en entire team with them--so Kauai government would be run by a bunch of Californians with no accountability to Kauai citizens. What could go wrong? You think Puhi road is a bad road?
Is this Council, which could not agree with the Salary Commission to pay department heads even a small increase, going to pay what it costs to get a qualified county manager?
Let's see. Milpitas California, with the same population (70,000) as Kauai, pays its manager $362,000. Palo Alto, with a smaller population (66,000) than Kauai, pays $433,000. Vallejo, with 119,000 people, pays $428,000.
Can this Council come up with the guts to pay that kind of money? And then pay the hundreds of thousands apiece for the manager's aides and assistants?
Could there be a more catastrophic setup than this?
Has anyone actually thought about how badly this could go?
When Mel and Kipukai agree 100 percent with Mason and Gary, if you cannot figure out who's getting screwed, better find one mirror.
Wow, bradahs, you guys just no care?
This thing is ugly, and dirty, and corrupt.
We got rid of four year terms for a reason.
So, going have some babooze from California as manager, making uku-paila money, getting orders from six council people and one no-power mayor--and running around like nuts because they can hire and fire.
How's that going work?
Not, ass how.
good morning 7:42
The duties of the mayor as you describe under a CM system is what we got right now; at a bargain cost of more than $100,000. The current system ain't working. Time for a change. Enough nepotism, favoritism, vindictiveness, back room deals, rewarding friends . The mayor has let 10 years feeding at the public go to his head. 10 years at the helm and what to show for it. Fancy ideas. Few results
Flint, Michigan has ... or shall I say "had" ... a City Manager. Need I say more. It's a bad idea and it will only inflate the cost of government. Hey, let's save some real money by reducing the number of councilmembers from 7 to 5. Council has been the second fasting growing budget anyway. It's high time they practice what they preach by reducing their budget.
Mickens, Taylor, Rosa, and Lewis are a bunch of grumpy old men with no credibility. They drone on and on about the bike path, Prop 13 taxes, the county manager system, the bus system, and a bloated government, while glowing over the work performed by the late auditor and potential savings his reports would produce if implemented. Boys, no need show up unless you have something new to say. The broken record is just costing the county airtime.
Council is out of control and apparently Shaylene still has Mel by the balls. Giving them more power is the last thing our citizens need. We don't need an oligarchy form of government controlled by Council with Shaylene clearing having influence over the chair from behind the curtain.
Just say no to the County manager position, do not put it on the ballet even cause it would be a disaster.
The county of Kauai doesn't want a county manager and that's why their proposing a dictatorship role. This is a way to block any person who has the education and experience to manage a county budget and the county council, the mayor and Dept heads don't want that and that's why they've created this full of crap proposal.
Not if the retiring commander of pmrf is given the opportunity to change the nepotism and cronyism in the county of Kauai's system.
The state of Hawaii and pmrf is already cleaning up their mess of unqualified/under qualified people that were illegally hired on Kauai.
Agreed 1000% it's just the county council see it as a time to put in their puppet and have a dictatorship.
The proposal is foolish and everyone knows it and they also want to put a back room deal to extend their tenure(s).
They know that a county manager will have to spend at least 10 years cleaning up CarValhole's mess.
Maybe they really don't want a county manager and that's why they want to have a proposal full of insane ideologies.
Isn't this what's happened or happening to Kauai county government??
Embattled head of electrical workers union paid relatives 6-figure salaries
May 10, 2016 04:51 AM
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The takeover of one of Hawaii's largest unions by its international parent comes amid longtime complaints of nepotism in the office.
A Hawaii News Now review of the IBEW Local 1260's filings with the U.S. Labor Department shows that the union employed at least four people related to business manager Brian Ahakuelo, including:
Ahakuelo's wife, Marilyn, who earned $105,000 last year as the union's director of community services;
His son, Brandon Ahakuelo, the union's chief of staff, who was paid $143,000 last year;
Sister-in-law Jennifer Estencion, who earned $101,000 as a senior executive assistant;
And another relative, executive assistant Neilani Ahakuelo, who received $77,000.
Brian Ahakuelo earned more than $211,000 last year, making him one of the highest-paid union executives in the state.
Besides the Ahakuelos, the union's director of media, Russell Yamanoha, and his wife, Tammy, work for Local 1260. Russell Yamanoha was paid $142,000 last year.
Nepotism in labor unions is usually tolerated to some extent by the federal government, but experts said that at Local 1260 it was getting out of hand, prompting the union's mainland parent to take notice.
The hefty salaries come at time when union dues have increased for some of Local 1260's membership.
"The international does not ordinarily get involved in local politics with the local unions. The only time it becomes an issue is when the ERISA pension funds are at risk or there's allegations of financial mismanagement," said Myles Breiner, who has represented several former union executives who were removed from office by federal officials.
Hawaii News Now was told that the union's international parent has sent several representatives to investigate the local's finances and that the U.S. Labor Department is beginning to ask questions.
Brian Ahakuelo was not available for comment. He and other staff are being paid during the investigation.
We have 1,500 county employees for an island population of 70K so that means 1 in 47 is a county employee.
This is what happens when a mayor is not doing his job he is elected to do. No to charter changes.
Let's see. Mel and JoAnn both face term limits after the upcoming term. So they both vote for a measure that kills term limits.
So they can just keep on running.
Is that a conflict of interest, or what?
And without their support, this would have lost.
The Council knows the public wants term limits, because the public voted for term limits.
So they stick this little stink bomb to kill term limits inside a county manager bill.
Not only do we potentially get a horrendous, corrupt system with no checks and balances, but we also lose term limits!
Come on, folks!
This is why I am here on Kauai. I am the checks and balances. I am big brother watching public corruption.
Yes to county manager. No to term limit change.
All you Faka's forget where the idea of the county manager came about. That's how screwed all your memories are. That's how sad all your attitudes have gone when it comes to the County Government. Glenn the man! Ken the man! it's all good! These guys are in the phone book. Who else put the political push to the manager system. You (Kauai) get what you asked for. all you 21 posts so far and not one points out the origin of this dumb ass SYSTEM. Freaking funny! Put your hat's into the 2016 Council elections! Hahahaha!
Wait! here's what else! add some words here, take this line out, that line out and this line in, put this word in place of that word. AND you still going blame the wrong people. Cheeee Whuuuu! Vote for the 21 listed above!
council listen up. Yes to 2619. with some language changes to tighten it up. A BIG NO to 2609 especially since JoAnn will insert amendments to allow her BnB friends all operating illegally, to be grandfathered in. She will not call it "Grandfathering" but that will be the result. Tune in to hear how she will try to justify her actions. Should be hilarious. Come elections she has to be booted.
Andah ungrateful inbred born from a drunk mother and drug addicted abusing father. Blaming the white man for stealing HIS land and blaming his parents for not being able to get him a good educamation. He works in the blood sucking construction Union and Afatah pay work kick back drink a few, light up a dube or blue flame one tool (ice pipe) with the boys then go home to his section 8 EBT baby momma who has kids from 2-4 different guys.
And this is normal here on Kauai and any trailer park trash Ghetto hood in merika.
5:40, wow, like to generalize much? Bet you appreciate Trump's white nationalist delegate to the Republican convention. And there's probably an opening for you on the Donald train. Go get 'em and sieg heil to y'all.
There are pros and cons for a council-manager form of government. However, not having checks and balances in county government is dangerous. Giving all of the power to the council is a scary thought and irresponsible. However, rather than dealing with Walter, Glen, Ken, and other proponents of this type of government year after year, perhaps now is the time to put this to a vote in November and have it killed once and for all. Arryl and Ross, you seem to be the only ones on the council that understand how crazy this proposal is. You have my vote and my family's votes too.
This is one of the worst councils we have ever had. Didn't think it could get worse. It just did. What a bunch of morons.
The first rule about hiring a County manager is to find out if the potential cost savings are more than the cost of hiring. That basic footwork hasn't been done.
At a minimum, the manager will require an experienced administrative assistant. If we're lucky, personnel costs will fall under $200k, but not by much. Double that amount to cover overhead and benefits for the two (or probably more) new hires. So we reach $400k right off the bat. As someone above noted, these CMs have teams, so finance and legal support will be required as well.
Where are the savings? With the manager under the control of the Council, savings won't be found by cutting the Council members' pet projects and personal issues.
I know a lot of people here expect savings in some areas, but haven't delved into the problems involved. Let's look at the bus stop shelter complaints that regularly come up. Some here claim they can cheaply build shelters. OK, but not legally. At a minimum, there are statistics to be developed about current and future likely usage of the proposed shelter. There are legal requirements to consult each neighborhood with proper notice given. Then there's the land involved. Who owns it? State, County, private owners? Who has an easement right - State, County, neighborhood homeowners, KIUC, other utilities? Research, then get legal consent - which can be slow, expensive and even impossible. The design & construction must meet requirements from the Feds (DOJ, USDOT, and probably others) and State regulations. If you bothered to attend the neighborhood meetings that have been held, you'd know some of the issues involved and could have inquired about others.
Every single area that seems simple for potential savings has its pit falls. There hasn't been a study to prove that a County Manager would be a net benefit to Kauai, just the rants of a handful of grumpy old men who don't like the mayor and think they are smarter than everybody else.
Power Mad, INDEED! The council is trying to take away the voters right to choose. Without a distinct separation between the Executive and Legislative branches, there is no "check and balance". I could give two shits about what Glenn Mickens, Ken Taylor, & Walter "sandbagger" Lewis think. They do not represent the majority of Kauai. Mel and Joann support this, but do you think they would support this if they were successful in their previous bids as Mayor? FUCK NO! What has this council really accomplished during this term? Repeal a barking dog ordinance, only to reinstate the barking dog ordinance? And we are to believe the council should hire the county manager? give me a break! Wise up Kauai, and choose carefully come November.
2:39 pm - it's the dickless council members who cave and can't say no to Ken, Glen and the loonies that are to blame. And now Mel is backpedalling and whining on Facebook that's we"ve misunderstood. They need to grow some balls.
A court house doggy. Are you kidding me. Waste, waste, waste. Politicians. Arrgh
10:36 p.m. I'm 2:39 p.m. what you just said, let me make the same statement in another fashion. It is called due process. the public made the proposal, your voted politicians listen, study and make the proposal. The council represents all of the general public, not just you and me, ALL. Yes, the proposal is a really big game changer in the political process. But, it was brought on by the general public. This is the due process of being a public servant. Now the process is to review, revise and recommend and then ROTE (vote). Like I said, you can put your hat in and file your papers. Make your statement from the inside. This is the business of government, if you want in, don't forget to conduct business, and before you do that, make sure you turn into an elephant, because without this tough and deep skin, you'll never make it as a council member. Good luck! 9:31 and 10:00 p.m. (at least your first sentence), the thinking process begins, good job, weighing out the cost analysis, goods / bad, strengths / weakness. Business like! Best wishes to your political career!
FFT! The only people makes out in an election year! The advertising companies! And the companies that goes along with politicking. This is a good thing, circulates money into our economy. Why! we voted, just 4 years ago, people weren't happy. we voted 2 years ago, people still not happy. GAME ON! Cheee Whuuuu!
8:18 am - three people do not constitute the "general public." All this just because Ken Taylor, Glen Mickens and Joe Rosa have nothing better to do? Come on...
Just read Mel's Facebook post trying to walk back his support of county manager. Sheesh. He introduced the proposal and now says he does not support it? What a waste of time.
9:40 a.m. it's called an "general statement" in reference to the men you mentioned. Come on!!!
Two faced double talking. What a guy. Not man enough.
10:53, are you referring to 10:01? just asking, trying to follow the multiple conversations on this blog.
OMG For the love of sanity put down the "Pigeon to Da Max" books and just type in regular English already. Seriously its really insulting and looks so obvious that you arent local and are prolly an ignorant racist who is trying way too hard to fit in. Locals can read yanno we don't need you to write all that cutesy fake "I am so in with the locals" wannabee crap or "Look at me-see?-I'm not really white on the inside coconut sell out-I'm still one of you!" idiots. You aren't fooling anybody and you read as lame. Just keeping it 100 people.
Idiots don't understand that locals can read and write just fine. Speaking can be in pidgin. We can even understand English. Some
Even go to movies and watch tv.
To topic. This is crap. This needs to die on the floor. Pure mayor by proxy. Bull shit.
5:31 so true. When I moved to the mainland, someone once told me, "People in Hawaii are so ignorant. I can't understand what they're saying." I asked him if they could understand him and he said "Of course!" I then asked him, "Then who's the ignorant one?"
Politicians are oblivious to the favoritism in their actions or they're corrupt. It's that simple.
Excuses excuses excuses but they are paid hefty salaries to accomplish these tasks and yet they don't year after year but have no shame in asking for raises to keep their so called top talent on Kauai.
agree with you 6:53
check out any Hoike meeting video where our finest (county department heads) answer council questions with ahh, dunno. Ahhh I'll back to you, etc. For this we pay $100K+? Only the best talent for County positions. Not even close.
Throw all the bums on the council OUT! City Manager is just an unaccountable position who will spend money like it grows on trees and let his puppet masters have their way - most likely developers. I saw this on the mainland, we do not want to go there.
We need even more limits on terms - 1 and DONE!
checks and balances in this county? call it cahoots.
No blame Mickens guys for the city manager idea. Blame the mayor and his cronies for all the pilau stuff they've pulled. See a connection?
Ready, fire, aim! That is Mickens favorite saying and that was exactly what the county manager resolution was. Put together half-ass by the pushers for this haole initiative
keep the city manager idea aIive. after 2 more years, we gonna be begging for a change.
Fire the mayor. Replace him with a county manager, but with no talents for singing and dancing, or we are doomed.
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