RE: Maui County Council Early Announcements, Questionable Press Release, Sunshine Law, Inauguration Interruptions
The new year of 2017 is starting out mean. The January 2nd Maui County Council inauguration ceremony appears to be an invitation to test truth and transparency rather than elected candidate celebration. Premature Council Chair declarations and recent staff dismissals has raised very serious questions. The news of Councilmember Mike White’s actions has garnered the attention of local and national news sources.
On December 28, the Huffington Post published an article by investigative journalist, Jonathan Greenberg, founder of ProgressiveSource.com and SonomaIndependent.org, with the following headline:
Maui County Staffers have been disseminating information as quickly as possible, often turning to social media to extinguish rumors and keep facts straight. Here are excerpts of related news in public Facebook posts to help understand this swiftly moving story.
Will Mike White go to Jail?? White plays Trump card, appoints himself Council King, violates county charter!
Impeachment proceedings for Maui County Council Chair Mike White were initiated today by handwritten affidavit, time stamped by the Maui County Clerk and signed by Mark Sheehan of the SHAKA Movement and S.A.F.E. (Sustainable Action Fund for the Environment).
“It’s high time Mike White is held accountable for his actions. He has shown that he thinks he is above the law, and the rules of the office he was elected to,” says Sheehan.
“His blatant violations of the Maui County Charter and the Sunshine Law damages the credibility of his office, and of the government in the eyes of the people, and we cannot allow it to continue. The people of Maui want a government and leaders they can trust to work for them, not in the interest of their own power and corporate backers, and we will settle for nothing less.”
The grounds for impeachment are outlined in the Maui County Charter Section 13-13: “Appointed or elected officers may be impeached for malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance in office or violation of the provisions of Article 10. Such impeachment proceedings shall be commenced in the Circuit Court of the Second Circuit, State of Hawai`i. The charge or charges shall be set forth in writing in a verified petition for impeachment signed by not less than five percent (5%) of the voters registered in the last general election.”
Malfeasance is defined as a wrongdoing, especially by a public official. Misfeasance is defined as a transgression, especially the wrongful exercise of lawful authority.
The justification for impeachment proceedings are outlined in the recent Board of Ethics and Office of Information Practices complaints filed against Chair White in the past two weeks by SAFE / SHAKA and HAPA (respectively).
In clear violation of the Maui County Charter section 3.5, which states that the vote for the Council Chair must be determined during a public election by all new Council members on January 2, Mike White stated in a November 11 press release on the Council’s website that he would “continue to serve as chair of the Maui County Council and Robert Carroll will serve as vice-chair during the 2017-2019 Council term, which begins January 2.”
White had orchestrated a backroom coup by attempting to gather four votes from other Council members and offering political bribes to those who would support him.
Section 10-4.1.a of the County charter prohibits the promise or acceptance of political appointments in exchange for votes.
Chair White also placed fulltime OCS staff on paid leave through the remaining part of the term, not to be hired back on January 2nd 2016 – Such an action is not within the authority of the Chair and would need to be approved by the full council with a formal vote.
The Board of Ethics complaint states that “Chair White solicited and secured committed votes for his Chairmanship from the other members behind closed doors, by way of promising other desirable positions held within the council. (ie. Vice Chair, Budget Chair, County Lobbyist) None of these positions can be secured without the approval of the council during a posted public hearing.”
The Office of Information Practices complaint brings to light “egregious violations by the Chair of the Maui County SunCouncil of Chapter 92 Hawaii Revised Statutes, commonly referred to as “the Sunshine Law”. A basic review of the facts and circumstances resulting in the Chair of the Maui County Council announcing a decision of the Council prior to any meeting being scheduled, held or publicly noticed demonstrates that this very important law is being blatantly violated.”
“The Office of Information Practices has been crystal clear with their forewarnings through formal opinions and through statements made directly to this very same seated Council. Yet still, the meetings occur and the serial communicating continues. Let this Council be made an example of, that the Sunshine Law, like all other laws, should be taken seriously and followed. As a legislative body, the County Council (that writes law for the public to follow) should be held to the highest standard and lead by good example.”
Sheehan also plans to initiate impeachment proceedings against the four other council members of the council who violated the Sunshine Law, Riki Hokama, Stacey Crivello, Bob Carroll and Yuki Lei Sugimura, depending on what occurs during the January 2nd meeting. Since the commitment to vote was secured by four sitting Council members and at least one other newly elected Council member; once the swearing in of all 2017-2019 members occurs on January 2nd, if the commitment to vote is followed through with an actual vote, all participating members will be in direct violation of Sunshine Law.
As outlined in the County of Maui Charter, the first meeting of the 2017-2019 Maui County Council will occur on January 2, 2017, where the full council will vote on leadership positions, including Council Chair, Vice Chair, Budget Committee Chair, County Lobbyist, and leadership and organization of other council committees. This meeting is open to the public. Public testimony will be taken at 2:00 p.m.
Post # 1:
Mike White violated the Maui County Charter and Sunshine Laws, trying to maintain his grip on the Chairmanship of the council through closed-door back room deals with other members. He even used his office and the Maui County Website to put out a press release claiming Chairmanship of the 2017-2018 council, BEFORE any official vote was taken.
He has already shut the newly elected incoming council members out of the decision making process & divided the council with his authoritarian leadership. The Council needs new, inclusive, open, fair leadership.
The REAL first public hearing of the 2017-2018 Maui County Council is on January 2nd at 2:00. This is where open discussion on Council and Committee leadership legally can take place, and votes will be cast.
Maui residents have been demanding more open, transparent and fair government. This is our chance to SHOW UP and MAKE IT HAPPEN.
Public testimony will be taken starting at 2:00pm. Please come and let Mike White know that we demand an end to manipulative, secretive power hungry government.
See the WE ARE WATCHING page at Facebook regarding the Maui County Council’s vote on leadership and committee organization to be held on MONDAY, JANUARY 2, 2016.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?
The laggards at the polls are now dictating that they should be the Council’s new leadership.
They are so scared to lose their grip on the CONTROL they have held for generations, that they are willing to break LAWS (Sunshine Law and the Maui County Charter) to maintain their authority over the will of the people.
Let’s see how many votes they got and where they finished in the countywide election.
#3 Mike White (Chair) 25,771 (Makawao)
#4 Rbt Carroll 25,273 (East)
#7 Riki Hokama 23,272 (Lanai)
#8 Yuki Sugimura 23,264 (UpCountry)
#9 Stacey Crivello 22,763 (Molokai)
Total votes 120,343 divided by 5 =24,068 average
While the higher vote getters are being shut out completely.
#1 Elle Cochran 31,970 (West)
#2 Don Guzman 30,764 (Kahului)
#5 Kelly King 23,641 (South)
#6 Alika Atay 23,322 (Wailuku)
Total votes 109,697 divided by 4 = 27,424 average
The people have spoken? Or have they?
Come and speak LOUDER, so he can hear you!
January 2, 2017 @ 2pm, County Building in Wailuku, 8th floor.
Or, send e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We all knew going into this that we would be attacked for telling the truth, and that as EA’s we would be targeted for having brains and opinions of our own.
Ego-feathers would be ruffled, and Executive Assistant- “know your role” statements would be made.
Chair White’s family and friends would attack us and question our intentions.
Sour grapes-past employees of Member Cochran’s would come out of the woodwork to try and undermine her reputation.
The thing is, the truth always prevails and no matter how ugly the accusations –as long as you can back up the real truth with facts and documentation….which we can….none of the noise matters. Push on.
We are fighting for transparency in government; Accountability in action. That is sure to be met with opposition from the establishment. We have nothing to hide.
Please feel free to ask for clarification, of ANY questions or accusations, directly to either member Cochran, or myself, or to our office.
Elle Cochran: (808) 281-7709