Thursday, January 20, 2005

Judge defers plea
in OT theft

A supervisor who did
personal work on city time
can now wipe his record clean

A supervisor at the Kailua Wastewater Treatment Plant was granted yesterday a deferral of his guilty plea to theft for repairing a leaking water sprinkler at a private Enchanted Lake home while on city time.


Harry K. Hauck III: The water plant worker has been temporarily promoted

Harry K. Hauck III, 50, pleaded guilty in October to the lesser charge of third-degree theft -- a misdemeanor -- stemming from two incidents that occurred during his watch in July 2001. He faced up to a year in jail. If he meets conditions similar to probation, the offense will be wiped off his record.

Hauck admitted to driving with another employee in a city truck to the home of fellow supervisor Jay Gonsalves' mother while on city overtime. He maintains he went on his own, not at anyone's request.

Deputy Prosecutor Paul Mow argued for the maximum one-year jail term, saying Hauck knew he was not performing work for the city and even took another employee off his job to perform work elsewhere.

"As supervisor of the plant, he has the duty to preserve resources of the City and County of Honolulu," Mow said. "He didn't do his duty as a supervisor."

Rodney Ching, Hauck's attorney, argued that his client's actions were driven by his desire to help others and not for personal gain.

"All told, he has learned his lesson in this matter, and it's not something he will do again," Ching said.

Hauck apologized to the court for his conduct. He was suspended for a week following an investigation by his department but has since been temporarily promoted to plant supervisor, Ching said.

Judge Town noted he was impressed with Hauck's work history and that he had taken the matter to heart. But he also agreed with prosecutors that as supervisor, Hauck should have set an example for his employees.

Town also ordered Hauck to pay the city $72.82 in restitution, perform 50 hours of community service, abstain from alcohol and illegal drugs for one year -- the period of the deferral -- and write a letter of apology to his employer.

Gonsalves, who was indicted along with Hauck last July, faces trial in February for second-degree theft. He was off duty and home on one of the days the work was being done at his mother's home, and benefited from the service, prosecutors said.

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