Chartering a Course

The Maui County Charter is, essentially, our local constitution. It sets the rules for county government and the way things operate, from mayor’s office to the council to codes of ethics to finances and so on. In short, it’s a pretty big deal...
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A look at the baker’s dozen proposed amendments to the Maui County Charter

The Maui County Charter is, essentially, our local constitution. It sets the rules for county government and the way things operate, from mayor’s office to the council to codes of ethics to finances and so on. In short, it’s a pretty big deal.  

These 13 proposed amendments and two alternative amendments to the charter will appear on the November ballot. (There are no proposed amendments to the state constitution.)

Photo Courtesy PhotoMIX Company / Pexels

  1. Create a separate Housing Department dedicated to affordable housing, including an advisory board and Hawaiian Home Lands Liaison 

Divides the Department of Housing and Human Concerns into two departments; creates the Housing Advisory Board to advise the Director of Housing; requires a liaison with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

  1. Establish a Department of ‘Ōiwi Resources

Affirms that the County will operate as a bilingual government and establishes a Department of ‘Ōiwi Resources to implement programs for management of ‘Ōiwi (native) cultural resources, including the Hawaiian language, place names, historical and archival materials, cultural sites, iwi and burials, and the variety of natural resources used in cultural practices.

  1. Ethics and financial disclosures

Requires the filing of a financial disclosure statement by appointive officers and employees prior to taking office or participating in any official capacity; prohibit officers and employees from taking official actions in which the officer or employee has a direct or indirect financial interest; prohibits officers and employees from using or attempting to use their position for unwarranted advantage to themselves or others.

  1. Planning Commissions and Community Plan Updates

Requires the Maui Planning Commission to have members from all council residency areas on the island of Maui; allows for Kalaupapa, Molokai, to be included within the County of Maui and the jurisdiction of the Molokai Planning Commission upon State action; and allows the community plan update process to be set by ordinance.

  1. Council organizational meeting, remote access, government records 

Requires remote communications during County Council meetings between the Council and members of the public located in Hāna, Lāna’i, Moloka’i, and other geographic areas, in accordance with State law; requires County employees to facilitate access to County records and minimize fees and charges; and provides discretion in determining the day, time, and venue of the County Council’s organizational meeting.

Photo courtesy Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

  1. Fines and penalties

Removes the cap on penalties for violations of the law so that they will be set by ordinance.

  1. Administrative department heads

Requires an administrative head nominated by the Mayor to immediately vacate office if denied appointment by the Council, and prohibits a letter of resignation as a condition of appointment for an administrative head?

  1. The role of the County Clerk

Authorizes the County Clerk to update the Charter in compliance with the law, clarifies the County Clerk’s other duties, and prohibits the County Clerk and Deputy County Clerk from actively participating in political management or campaigns for federal, state, or county elective office.

  1. The Police Chief and the Police Commission 

Requires the Chief of Police to provide a written report to the Police Commission when the chief disagrees with the Commission’s findings related to the conduct of the department or its members.

Alternative Proposal 9A. 

Requires the Chief of Police to inform the Police Commission when the Chief disagrees with the Commission’s findings related to the conduct of the police department or its members, and upon the Commission’s request, provide a written report.

Photo courtesy Pixabay

  1. Independent Nomination Board

Creates a nine-member Independent Nomination Board,  appointed by the Mayor and approved by Council, to recruit, evaluate, and nominate individuals for County boards, commissions, and the positions of the County Clerk, Auditor, Corporation Counsel, and Prosecuting Attorney; eliminates the prohibition on paying board and commission members; sets the County Clerk’s term at six years; eliminates the requirement that no more than a bare majority of a board or commission may belong to the same political party; staggers the membership of new boards so that five members would serve three-year terms and four members would serve two-year terms and provide that board members serving for an initial term of less than three years may be reappointed to a full term on the same board.

Alternative Proposal 10A.

Creates an 11-member Independent Nomination Board, with two members appointed by the Mayor without Council approval and nine members appointed by the Council without Mayoral approval and, to recruit, evaluate, and nominate individuals for the positions of the Corporation Counsel and Prosecuting Attorney and County boards and commissions; eliminates the requirement that no more than a bare majority of a board or commission may belong to the same political party; removes the prohibition on paying board and commission members; staggers the membership of new boards and commissions so that five members would serve three-year terms and four members would serve two-year terms and provides that board members serving an initial term of less than three years may be reappointed to a full term on the same board or commission.

  1. Impacts of Charter amendments on County taxation and spending

Requires the County Auditor to assess the impacts of proposed charter amendments on County taxation and spending.

  1. Maui County Community Water Authorities

Establishes Maui County Community Water Authorities with regional community boards to manage water collection and delivery systems acquired by the Water Authorities, including state license areas in East Maui, pursues long-term water lease agreements with the state to provide long-term reliable water supplies for domestic and agricultural needs.

  1. Promoting Climate Change Adaptation

Establishes a county policy to promote climate change adaptation, including by implementing guidelines to allow certain county employees to telework and have alternative work schedules.

Visit mauicounty.gov/charteramendments or call (808) 270-7749 for more information.

Jacob Shafer

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