Tuesday, June 19, 2001

4 OHA trustees
boycott meetings

They say interviews for OHA
administrator should not be
held at the Pacific Club

By Pat Omandam

Four trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs board have begun a boycott of OHA meetings held at the Pacific Club, saying the public agency has no reason to meet there.

"OHA is a public state agency whose business should only be conducted at a public facility," they said.

The nine-member board began interviewing finalists for the job of OHA administrator yesterday and scheduled their closed-door meetings at the private membership club. The meetings continue through tomorrow.

Four trustees, however, signed a letter addressed to the board stating they will not attend any candidate interviews at the club because of the club's membership and dress code requirements.

The group -- Rowena Akana, Linda Dela Cruz, Clayton Hee and Charlie Ota -- added that the club's history on restricting access to Asians and women makes it an inappropriate place to conduct public business.

"To take it to a club where entry is determined by membership denies the public access to a state agency," Hee said.

Pacific Club officials said yesterday the public could attend the OHA meetings even though they are in executive session.

OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona said six trustees attended the first two interviews there yesterday, including Dela Cruz.

Apoliona said trustees Oz Stender and John D. Waihee IV decided on the Pacific Club because of its convenient location and because it allows candidates more confidentiality than the OHA headquarters.

Apoliona said the agenda for the Pacific Club meetings were scheduled June 8, but the four trustees did not raise objections to the site until yesterday's board meeting.

The board agenda calls for continued closed meetings today and tomorrow and will reconvene at an open session at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Location was not the only concern about the interview process. Akana and Dela Cruz also questioned the need to spend four days interviewing six candidates to pick an administrator, saying it was a waste of time.

"Surely, we can make a decision without taking four days," Akana said.

Trustees Waihee and Stender, who head the committee search for an administrator, decided to space the interviews to two per day to give trustees time to digest the information.

Independent consultant Kathryn K. Inkinen, hired by the board to recruit and screen applicants, said there were a total of 18 candidates for the $85,000-a-year job. Inkinen said she forwarded the board the top six finalists based on the board's minimum requirements and job qualifications.

Candidates Jan Dill, Colin Kippen and Clyde Namuo have confirmed they are finalists. The others are believed to be Patricia Brandt, Robert Ozaki and Winona Rubin.

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