Think About It: Disclosure Exposure - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

March 30, 2015

Think About It: Disclosure Exposure

The state Ethics Commission announced that it will be making public the financial disclosure forms of members of many boards and commissions in two months, rather than next year. While I fully support the concept of transparency and full disclosure, I think the Ethics commission, doing its job, should have been able to vet the individuals interested in these positions without the need to disclose all the information to the public.

Why, you ask? Because many people, while happy to provide relevant financial data to ensure that there are no concerns about conflicts of interest when they volunteer to be on boards, simply don't want that same information to be made public. A rationale for why these forms are being made public was that the Ethics Commission was short staffed, and couldn't deal with hundreds of forms. So now, we have a situation where some people might simply never apply for a board position, when perhaps a better answer would have been to hire more administrative staff to comb through personal data.

As it now stands, we'll never know how many altruistic, bright people who might have been of great help to our community simply opt not to put their names forward because of these new public disclosure rules. So kudos to those who still come forward to help our community, but a better answer would have been to leave the names and finances of interested volunteers in the hands of the ethics commission while assigning more people to help administratively. It would have been a small price to pay in the long run. Think about it…

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