Hearing on Young held in private
The DLNR director is expected to talk next week about his tenure
Most of the third day of Department of Land and Natural Resources Director Peter Young's confirmation hearing before a Senate committee was conducted behind closed doors yesterday.
When the process resumes Tuesday morning, Young will finally get a chance to explain why he should have the job another four years and to answer his critics.
Young, members of the public and the news media were barred from more than eight hours of testimony in a closed session of the Senate Water, Land, Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs Committee.
State Attorney General Mark Bennett asked that the questioning of four subpoenaed workers for the Bureau of Conveyances be held in private to protect an ongoing criminal investigation in their DLNR division.
That investigation "started as an internal investigation. And it was at my instructions and insistence that it was taken outside (to the attorney general in January), so it was able to have a complete and thorough investigation," Young told the Star-Bulletin.
The state Ethics Commission also is investigating the Bureau of Conveyances. The commission's investigator and the attorney general's investigator both gave testimony to the Senate committee privately yesterday and Thursday.
"I am not the subject of either of the investigations," Young repeated yesterday.
After a complaint last year, Ethics Commission Executive Director Dan Mollway wrote a letter to the bureau in December, telling workers there to stop accepting gift baskets of food or other items from companies that use the Bureau's services.
The current ethics investigation involves other matters, Mollway said yesterday.
Committee chairman Russell Kokubun said Bennett may be able to edit transcripts of the closed-door sessions to remove portions that have to do with his investigation and make them available to senators not on the committee and to the general public on Tuesday.
Senate President Colleen Hanabusa said in a statement: "We are continuing to work with the attorney general to make as much information public as possible. The public has a right to know how these decisions are made, and we in the Senate are going to do everything we can to give them that information."
"I look forward to the confirmation process. I appreciate the process that's going on," Young said.