Charter change allows council to set director qualifications


On Nov. 8, voters approved an amendment to the Maui County Charter that will allow the County Council to establish qualifications for, and confirm, mayoral nominations of certain department heads.

The new charter provisions take effect with the inauguration of the next elected mayor on Jan. 2, 2019. So one of the most important jobs for the council over the next two years will be to determine the professional criteria for the directors of county agencies.

We will look at the job requirements for agency heads in other municipalities for guidance. Educational background, work experience and specific professional capabilities will be considered.

The goal is to ensure that the county is operated with the highest level of professionalism and competency. I thank the voters for giving the council this authority.

Another charter amendment approved by the electorate changed the name of the Civil Defense Agency to the Maui County Emergency Management Agency. In addition, voters approved a measure allowing the council to designate its staff attorneys as official legal advisers.

In other news, at its meeting Friday the council formally received various notifications and reports from the administration, all of which are available online.

Mayor Alan Arakawa informed the council that Haiku resident Kate Griffiths has been appointed to the Commission on the Status of Women. Budget Director Sandy Baz provided the latest report on the implementation of the fiscal year 2017 budget, Finance Director Danny Agsalog reported on the settlement of various claims and the acquisition of various easements, and Water Director Dave Taylor submitted the most recent water use reports.

In addition, Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu notified the council of the receipt of more than $2,000 in forfeiture funds from the U.S. Marshals Service and $19,500 in additional grant funding from the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

At the council’s next meeting on Dec. 2, Upcountry Council Member Gladys Baisa will be recognized for her decade of service on the County Council. She has spearheaded enactment of many important pieces of legislation, including the bed-and-breakfast home ordinance and the first Maui Island Plan.

Baisa’s work on the council isn’t done. She will chair a meeting of the Water Resources Committee at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Council Chambers.

The council’s other standing committees remain active too. With the last council meeting of the term scheduled for Dec. 16, this would be a good time to let committee chairs know if you’d like to see any pending items brought up for discussion.

Inauguration for the new council is set for 10 a.m. Jan. 2, with the first business meeting of the 2017-2019 term set for 2 p.m. Both the inauguration and the meeting will be shown live on Akaku’s Channel 53 and at MauiCounty.us.

I’m honored by the faith my colleagues have shown in me by designating me to serve another term as chair of the council. I will continue to seek ways to make the entire county government more responsive to the public’s concerns and more economical in its work.


* Mike White is chair of the Maui County Council. He holds the council seat for the Paia-Haiku-Makawao residency area. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters. Go to MauiCounty.us for more information.


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