Council is fulfilling its role with investigation

The council’s vote to investigate the administration’s decision to obligate further expense of millions of dollars in public funds to build new offices does not waste money. The council is simply fulfilling its role established by the Maui County Charter.

The legislative branch of Maui County government is charged with the duty to investigate the performance and decisions of the executive branch. While it cannot instruct employees or elected officials on decision-making, it can and must determine if prior decisions follow the publicly adopted laws and ordinances.

There is no language in the charter that allows for admission of guilt being disregarded by saying you are sorry. To protect the public interest, there must be conclusions drawn through investigation that document unlawful or unethical conduct. This process serves the people of Maui County far better than the mayor telling the citizens he will make sure it does not happen again.

Council Member Riki Hokama reminded us the public expense along Palama Drive was at least $12 million. Then-Judge Joel August produced findings and fact and conclusions of law that Mayor Alan Arakawa acted outside his authority. Arakawa is a former member of the Maui County Council. Arakawa and Council Member Don Couch know that the citizens’ voices must be heard prior spending their hard-earned tax dollars. This right has been violated.

The courage the council is showing will ensure that all public officials are reminded there is consequence for failing to follow the charter.

Chris Salem