Lessons to be learned

Wow, almost four years after the fact, the county auditor has concluded that Mayor Alan Arakawa’s administration probably shouldn’t have knocked down the Old Wailuku Post Office with funds designated to “rehabilitate” it.

However, Auditor Lance Taguchi says his report on the project issues no opinion on whether the demolition violated the 2012 budget ordinance. That can only be determined through litigation, he says.

Please, don’t even mention litigation. No more money or time should be spent on this issue. Arakawa apologized to the County Council in 2013 for not formally amending the county budget to use the funds for demolition.

He was quoted in a Maui News story Wednesday that “In this case, we had a building that was uninhabitable due to lead, mold and asbestos. . . . In order to correct the situation, we had to tear down the building and restore the property. Currently it serves as a parking lot for about 60 county employees.”

At the time, council members were also being a bit disingenuous when they attacked the mayor. Certainly most of the council knew (or should have known) that the building was being demolished. It wasn’t exactly a secret or hidden from public view.

It was not the finest hour in communications between an administration and a County Council. But an apology was issued. Hopefully, lessons in communication were learned from this unfortunate chapter.

It’s time to move on. Maui County has new and more pressing problems to solve, not the least of which is next year’s budget.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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