Friday, January 17, 2003

Kauai County

Naming of Kauai director
draws fire

By Anthony Sommer

LIHUE >> Ian Costa, an architect who has served as both deputy county engineer and deputy county planning director, has been chosen as Kauai's new planning director.

The Planning Commission, rather than the mayor, appoints the planning director. The commission apparently voted to hire Costa at its Tuesday meeting.

Mayor Bryan Baptiste's office made the announcement yesterday, raising complaints from community activists that the Planning Commission violated the state's open-meeting law by not placing the appointment on its agenda.

Tuesday's commission agenda mentions only an executive session with the panel's attorney to discuss legal issues involved in the hiring of a new director.

Nowhere does it state that the commission planned to vote on hiring Costa.

"The least they can do is keep the process legal," said environmental activist Ray Chuan, who said he probably would have testified on Costa's appointment if he had known it was going to be voted on.

"If I could afford a lawyer, I would take them to court," said Andy Parks, another activist who frequently confronts the county on open-meeting and public-records issues.

Several members of the County Council said at its meeting yesterday that they had no idea Costa had been appointed.

The County Attorney's Office said it would review the matter.

Sandi Kato-Klutke, who chairs the Planning Commission, sent word through her office that she was too busy yesterday to respond to inquiries from the media.

Costa is a popular choice for the post and was current Planning Director Dee Crowell's personal choice for a successor.

County of Kauai

E-mail to City Desk


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