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Commission recommends approval of amendments

The Kaua‘i Charter Review Commission will place six Charter amendments on the 2020 General Election ballot.

The six include three measures to propose changes in qualifications for department heads, one proposal to toughen ethics disclosure language and two “housekeeping” measures to clarify oversights or address changes in State law.

In each case, the Charter Review Commission recommends approval.

• Police Chief Qualifications. The Police Commission, after going through a chief selection process, suggested tougher requirements for candidates in the future. The Charter Commission agreed, and suggests a police chief have at least 15 years of service, 10 of which must be in a full-service law enforcement agency, and must have at least a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate field.

• County Engineer Qualifications. The head of the county Department of Public Works needs both an engineering background and strong administrative skills. This amendment would require County Engineer candidates have significant training and experience in the engineering field, but would not require they be registered engineers. This change would expand the pool of qualified candidates.

• Water Manager Qualifications. As with the County Engineer, the Water Board Manager would need extensive training and experience in an engineering-related position, but would not need to be a registered engineer in the State of Hawai‘i.

• Ethics Disclosure. This measure would add to the list of County officials who must file ethics disclosure statements. It would require disclosures of the managing director and the heads and deputies of County departments, agencies and divisions. Those disclosures would be open to public review. Regulatory employees like inspectors would also need to file, but their disclosures would be available to the Board of Ethics but not be open to public inspection.

• Prosecutor Vacancy. The current Charter language provides for how to fill the prosecutor’s office if it becomes vacant with less than a year left in the term or more than 18 months left in the term, but in an oversight, it leaves out the period between. This amendment would clarify that the Mayor and Council appoint a replacement if there are fewer than 18 months left in the term, but that an election would be held if there is more time remaining.

• Negligence Claims. The Charter and State law differ on deadlines for submitting damage or injury claims against the County. This measure corrects this by bringing the County into compliance with State law, which currently requires claims be filed within two years of the event in question.

Again, the Charter Review Commission recommends a vote for approval of all six items, which are on the 2020 General Election ballot.

The Charter Review Commission is made up of seven members of the Kaua‘i public who are recommended by the Mayor and approved by the County Council. The Commission has the authority to propose Charter amendments that the Commission members feel are “necessary or desirable.”

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Submitted by the Office of Boards & Commissions on behalf of the The Charter Review Commission

Kaua‘i County Charter Review Commission

Marissa Sandblom, Chair

Jan TenBruggencate, Vice-Chair

Gini Kapali

Reid Kawane

Lori Koga

Patrick Stack

Carol Suzawa
Source: The Garden Island

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