Ethics Commission investigation clears Hannemann's managing director
Acting city Managing Director Wayne Hashiro did not break ethics laws by signing documents related to a construction management contract awarded to a firm in which a friend had a principal role and his son was employed, the city Ethics Commission has determined.
"There is no evidence to conclude that Mr. Hashiro violated the ethics laws," according to a letter written by Chuck Totto, commission executive director and legal counsel.
But the commission also said Hashiro could have avoided even the appearance of impropriety or a conflict of interest by steering clear of matters affecting his son's employer and designating someone else to make related decisions.
The commission's opinion was sought by Councilman Charles Djou, whose Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee had held a confirmation hearing last month on Hashiro's nomination as Mayor Mufi Hannemann's managing director.
The committee put Hashiro's confirmation on hold pending the Ethics Commission investigation when questions arose about Hashiro's role related to the contract.
Djou said he plans to put Hashiro's nomination back on the committee agenda today.
"I don't see why he shouldn't be confirmed as managing director," Djou said.
Hashiro could not be reached for comment yesterday. He previously said he had done nothing illegal and welcomed the ethics probe to lift the cloud over his head.
Hashiro was named deputy director of the city Department of Design and Construction in January 2005 before becoming acting director later that month. He received Council confirmation in April 2005.
Earlier this year, Hannemann tapped Hashiro to be the No. 2 official in the city. Hashiro has since been the acting managing director while awaiting Council confirmation.
As the head of Design and Construction, Hashiro signed four documents related to the Kalaheo Avenue Sewer Reconstruction Project, which the city undertook to rehabilitate sewer and water lines along Kalaheo Avenue in Kailua, according to the Ethics Commission letter.
In November 2004, the city -- prior to the Hannemann administration taking office -- selected URS Corp. as a consultant to manage the project. URS employed Hashiro's son as an engineer and one of the company's principal engineers was David Yogi, Jr., Hashiro's friend.
In April 2005, Yogi formed another company with other URS employees, a company which became a subcontractor under URS in the Kalaheo project. Hashiro's son also joined the new company.
The four documents Hashiro signed that were related to the URS contract "reflected decisions that had been previously made by city agencies. The documents he signed included no contracts or amendments or other document that created the terms of any contract," according to the opinion. "No attempt to influence or secure an unwarranted benefit for the firms in question was found. Similarly, no conflict was created or acted on."
The Ethics Commission found that the need for the consultant was determined before Hashiro began working for the city and Hashiro had no role in selecting the firm. But the commission said that had Hashiro sought advice from the commission, it would have recommended that he remove himself from the matter to avoid the appearance of impropriety or a conflict of interest.