Mass departure at state boards force cancellations of meetings

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Jul 08 2014 07:46:11 PM HST
Updated On: Jul 08 2014 08:10:57 PM HST

Two state boards are dead after a mass exodus of members have left them without quorum and other boards are barely hanging on. KITV4's Catherine Cruz has more on these departures.

HONOLULU -

The Land Use Commission deals with housing projects like Hoopili and Koa Ridge, but is left with only three out of nine members right now.

It doesn't have quorum, so it is being forced to cancel this week's meeting and others until further notice.

Click here to watch Catherine Cruz's report.

"A quorum requires five commissioners and approval of any project requires six. So we really don't have enough to do business right now.  So we are pretty much dead in the water," said the State Land Use Commission’s Daniel Orondenker.

The LUC was expecting a couple of housing projects and three solar projects to come before the board this summer, but now it can't take action until governor can fill the vacancies.

"This is the first time that I am aware that we have not had quorum because we have not had enough appointments to the commission," said Orodenker.

The University of Hawaii saw four regents resign and a spokeswoman said a committee meeting this week was also canceled because of a lack of quorum.

The Hawaii Housing Development Corporation also cancelled its meeting this week because it lost two of its members.

The head of the state agribusiness development board says its losing four of its members which will make putting farmers on former Galbraith Lands on the north shore a challenge.

"There are many decisions that have to be made over the next couple of months to make that happen. So we feel some of a loss and some of those members who we have lost have contributed to those efforts," said chairwoman Letitia Uyehara.

Uyehara has served in state positions that required her financial filings to be held privately at the state ethics commission but the new law adds the requirement to members of additional new boards and commissions and makes the information public to avoid problems of conflicts of interest.

"People want some privacy on these kinds of issues and they trusted government would protect that, and now it's just out there on websites for all to see," said Uyehara.

The governor’s office released a list of 16 people who have submitted letters indicating they want to step down. But that number is expected to grow.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has not accepted all of the resignations.

He is asking for volunteers to serve but a good number of the positions are unpaid and some fear the new reporting requirement will make recruitment difficult.

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