Nominee welcomes investigation
The mayor's choice for managing director says he did nothing wrong
The city's managing director position will remain staffed by the mayor's nominee, current acting managing director Wayne Hashiro, while the Ethics Commission decides if Hashiro committed any ethical improprieties in the awarding of contracts in the last two years.*
"I think we need to wait until we get a report from the Ethics Commission. I think it's only prudent that we just wait for the Ethics Commission's report and clear all the misconceptions that surround this nomination," Council Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz said yesterday.
Council Executive Matters Chairman Charles Djou said they hope to hear back from the Ethics Commission by May 16, when the committee will hold a special meeting to consider Hashiro's nomination for the city's No. 2 spot.
At issue is whether Hashiro was involved in directing any city business to companies that were operated by a friend who also employed his son.
The Ethics Commission is looking at questions surrounding a construction management contract awarded to engineering firm URS Corp., which was selected in 2004 -- before Mayor Mufi Hannemann was elected mayor -- to supervise the controversial Kalaheo Avenue sewage reconstruction.
"I'd like to see the cloud be lifted from Mr. Hashiro because I think otherwise he should be confirmed forthwith as managing director," Djou said.
Hashiro denied any wrongdoing and said he welcomes the ethics review.
"I don't believe I did anything illegal so I would like them to go and investigate," he said. "I would like to have everything cleared. I got no problems with that," said Hashiro, who was head of the city Department of Design and Construction.
Hannemann continues to support Hashiro for the job, and praised his honesty and integrity.
"Wayne Hashiro did not act improperly," Hannemann said. "I think it's much ado about nothing."
Hashiro said he was not part of the city selection committee that picked URS as the top firm being considered for the Kalaheo Avenue contract. Administration officials backed him up.
Hashiro's son reportedly worked for a friend of his father's at URS. And that friend was in charge of the firm's Honolulu office at the time Hashiro signed a letter notifying the company to proceed with the contract on Feb. 3, 2005, when Hashiro was acting director of the department.
Hashiro's friend later broke off from URS and formed a separate company that also worked as a subcontractor on the Kalaheo project, and also received a consulting contract for another city project. Hashiro's son also joined that company.
Hashiro said he had no idea who was selected for that contract. City spokesman Bill Brennan said it was Hashiro's deputy at the time, Eugene Lee, who signed off on an emergency consulting contract to the firm to investigate a sinkhole on Ward Avenue.
Ethics Commission Executive Director Chuck Totto told the committee that he will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant further investigation by the commission.
"If I don't find that there's probable cause that an ethics violations occurred and that Mr. Hashiro committed that ethics violations ... then it would go away," Totto said.
Totto said one of the issues he will look at is whether Hashiro took any action that affected the companies his son worked for.
"What we do is we look at whether or not any city personnel has misused city resources or has acted on a matter that they have a conflict of interest in," Totto said.
Thursday, May 4, 2006
» Wayne Hashiro is the city's acting managing director who has been nominated for the permanent position. A Page A3 article Friday incorrectly said the position was vacant, and did not mention that he is serving as the acting managing director currently.