Apparently I’m not the only one in the county who has trouble taking the Arakawa Administration at its word these days. On Friday, Dec. 18, the Maui County Council referred a little-advertised charter amendment to committee for discussion. Transmitted by Councilmember Riki Hokama, the amendment–submitted as a special committee continues to examine a possible county manager form of government that would strip the mayor’s office of most, if not all of its powers–would “require Council approval of the Mayor’s appointment of department directors.”
This is huge–a big power grab by the Council against the mayor’s office. As things stand now, the mayor of Maui County can appoint anyone he wants–professional, crony or fool–to run a county department, with the exception of Prosecuting Attorney, Corporation Counsel and the Department of Water Supply, which require Council approval. If Hokama’s charter amendment passes, the Council would also have to approve future mayoral appointments to the departments of Finance, Planning, Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Housing and Human Concerns, Transportation and, of course, Environmental Management.
Imagine that–more checks and balances in local government.
Photo of the Kalana O Maui Building: Wikimedia Commons