Conflict-of-interest bill vetoed by Hannemann
Mayor Mufi Hannemann vetoed a measure last week aimed at curbing conflicts of interest among city employees, saying the City Charter amendment proposal could scare away job applicants.
The measure, Resolution 07-391, introduced by Councilman Charles Djou, would have banned city employees from making any decisions dealing with former employers for at least a year after they left that job. The City Council cannot override the veto because it is a Charter amendment. The proposal would have gone before voters in November.
Djou introduced the measure after Hannemann appointed Wayne Yoshioka in December 2007 as the transportation director. Yoshioka was a senior supervising transportation engineer with PB Americas, an engineering firm awarded $79 million for work on the city's $3.7 billion mass transit system.
Yoshioka said he recuses himself when dealing with financial decisions involving his longtime former employer, but Djou pointed out there is no rule to ensure it.
"I am extremely disappointed in the mayor's veto of the ethics legislation to close a glaring loophole in the city's conflict-of-interest rules," Djou said in a statement. "This veto undermines the public's trust in our government and continues the unfortunate trend in Hawaii government of turning back ethics reform."
The City Council passed the resolution unanimously on March 19.
City Human Resources Director Ken Nakamatsu has testified against the measure and urged a veto, saying it would reduce the number of job candidates.
"Narrowing the field does not make sense in this time when the labor pool is shrinking, and will continue to diminish in the foreseeable future," Nakamatsu said, adding that current laws already address conflicts of interest.
The veto is Hannemann's first this year.