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Proposed charter change would raise threshold for police chief

The Maui News

Future Maui police chiefs would be required to have a bachelor’s degree and 15 years of experience if a proposed charter amendment is approved by voters in 2022.

The Maui Charter Commission passed proposals to increase the minimum requirements for the police chief and to clarify the process for their removal from office during the commission’s latest meeting on Nov. 18. It also adopted a proposal ensuring that various police commission reports are publicly available. Three proposals focused on establishing independent citizen oversight of police department activities were not approved, according to a commission news release on Wednesday.

The commission is in the process of reviewing the Maui County Charter, the guiding document for local government, and is proposing changes that voters will have the chance to decide on in the upcoming election. Last week, the commission discussed several proposals related to police and to the executive branch.

Besides a series of “technical” revisions to the charter submitted by Corporation Counsel, the commission adopted proposals that would:

• Impose a three-year residency requirement for mayoral candidates.

• Broaden the requirements for Department of Liquor Control director.

• Prohibit back-dating of director written resignations, instead requiring a notarized resignation letter signed by department heads no more than 30 days prior to their intended resignation date.

• Divide the Department of Housing and Human Concerns into two distinct departments.

• Recommend the appointment of Corporation Counsel and the Prosecuting Attorney from a short list of nominees selected by an independent selection commission.

Seven proposals were deferred to the next meeting due to time limitations.

“Miscellaneous and new provisions” is the final topic scheduled for discussion before the commission on Dec. 2. Public testimony will be taken on 14 amendment proposals, including one mandating that the county operate as a bilingual (English and Hawaiian) government and another creating a deputy director position that would act as a liaison between the county and the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Other proposals would establish a new Department of Information Technology and an independent utility authority, place all water sources under the direct management of the county instead of private entities and modify the signature thresholds for referenda and initiatives.

Future Charter Commissions could be impacted if several commission-related proposals are approved.

Meetings are held online via the BlueJeans videoconferencing platform. For agendas and links to meetings, visit mauicounty.gov/chartercommission. To provide written testimony prior to meetings, email charter.commission@mauicounty.gov.

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