Think About It: Ethical Question - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

January 21, 2016

Think About It: Ethical Question

Janet Mason of The League of Women Voters of Honolulu made a sincere and wise pitch last week at the Charter Commission meeting. Mason suggested that changes need to be made to the manner in which members of the County Ethics Commission are picked. After all, the commission does have to make decisions or at least render opinions from time to time, directly related to the Honolulu Mayor and the City Council.

And that's where the problems start, because current rules call for ethics commissioners to be selected by the mayor with approval by the City Council. Much like employees don't (or shouldn't) pick their bosses, major league baseball players don't pick their manager, and inmates don't get to pick who runs the asylum, there is a potential for real conflict when ethical issues come up and appointees must censure or chastise the very people who appointed them. This leads to remonstration, denial, and bickering, and of late has left us to wonder who's in charge?

So the League of Women Voters suggest that, much like the State does with its ethics commission appointed by a community-based judicial council with legislative approval, the county should allow for and create an outside, independent, community-fostered entity to select ethics commissioners, and the Office of the Auditor could be the new home of this important commission. It sounds clean, simple, pono, in our best interests, and thus will undoubtedly run into roadblocks before it maybe moves forward at a glacial pace. But maybe not. Maybe it can move swiftly in some form. Now that would be the ethical thing to do. Think about it…

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