Charter Commission Acts on Proposals Governing Police and the Executive Branch
At its latest meeting, the Maui Charter Commission approved several proposals under Theme H involving Police, and Theme I, involving the Executive Branch (Other than Police and Planning). Numerous individuals as well as County officials provided testimony on each topic.
Three of six proposals related to policing received approval from the Commission. Proposals increasing minimum requirements for Police Chief and clarifying the process for his or her removal from office passed. Basic qualifications for Police Chief would rise to a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree and 15 years of experience if voters approve the proposal in 2022. A proposal ensuring that various police commission reports are publicly available was also adopted. Three proposals focused on establishing independent citizen oversight of police department activities were not approved.
The Commission also considered 30 proposals related to Theme I, involving Executive Branch operations. Besides a series of “technical” revisions to the Charter submitted by Corporation Counsel, the Commission adopted proposals imposing a three-year residency requirement for mayoral candidates, and broadening the requirements for Liquor Control Director. Another proposal would 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.
A proposal dividing the Department of Housing and Human Concerns into two distinct departments was adopted, as was one recommending 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.
Also scheduled for discussion at the next meeting is the final topic before the current Charter Commission, Theme J, involving Miscellaneous and New Provisions. Public testimony will be taken on Theme J–a diverse assortment of 14 amendment proposals.
Among them are proposals mandating that the County operate as a bilingual (English / Hawaiian) government and one creating a deputy director position that would act as a liaison between the County and the Department of Hawaiian Homelands. 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. Additionally, future Charter Commissions could be impacted if several Commission related proposals are approved.
During Charter Commission meetings, the public can provide testimony via video or telephone on scheduled agenda items. Agenda items are taken up in the order listed, as time permits. Written testimony can be submitted prior to the meeting via email to Charter.Commission@mauicounty.gov. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, public meetings are held online via BlueJeans. For more information and to join Maui Charter Commission meetings via BlueJeans follow the link on the Commission website http://www.mauicounty.gov/CharterCommission.
As it nears completion of the year-long review of charter amendment proposals, the Charter Commission is encouraging the public to review and learn about the proposed amendments that have been adopted. A preliminary report will be available for comment in January.