Friday, January 7, 2000

Judge appoints panel to
nominate future trustees

McCubbin to restore early ed, outreach

By Rick Daysog


A state judge has appointed a blue-ribbon committee to nominate future trustees of the Kamehameha Schools.

In an eight-page order filed yesterday, Probate Judge Kevin Chang named isle educator Nona Beamer; local business and political leader Kenneth Brown; the estate's past master, Colbert Matsumoto; Roy Benham, Oahu region president of the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association; Kauai business executive Allan Smith; Kelvin Taketa, chief executive officer of the Hawaii Community Foundation; and attorney Melody MacKenzie, former head of the state Hawaiian Claims Office.

But Chang said the panel and the selection process they represent may not be permanent. He said the Supreme Court could resume its century-old practice of naming Kamehameha Schools board members if a majority of the high court chooses to do so.

In December 1997, four of the five justices of the Supreme Court voted to terminate its role of naming Bishop Estate board members due to public criticism that the trust and the selection process were politicized.

Chang said the original selection method, established by the will of the estate's founder, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, should be "respected and followed." But he believes that the previous selection method was "rendered inoperable" by the Supreme Court's recusal.

Chang also dismissed the attorney general's plan to have the Intermediate Court of Appeal name future trustees, calling it "illogical" and "unpersuasive."

Under the new selection plan, proposed by the estate's court-appointed master, Ben Matsubara, the probate court selects seven panel members who would identify qualified prospects for board openings. A probate judge would then select the new trustees from the list of candidates selected by the committee.

Chang's order takes away much uncertainty surrounding Kamehameha Schools.

The estate currently is run by an interim board of trustees selected by Chang.

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