UH regents remain at Lingle’s request
The governor has failed the constitution, Sen. Hooser says of the term extensions
Gov. Linda Lingle is extending the terms of six University of Hawaii regents including her friend and campaign adviser Kitty Lagareta, who was rejected in May by the state Senate for a new term.
Terms extended for 6 of 15
The Board of Regents consists of 15 people. The governor asked six regents to stay beyond their terms until she names replacements; six others will attend their first meeting on July 31; and three members have terms that do not expire until 2009 or 2010.
» Regents whose terms are being extended: Byron Bender, student regent Michael Dahilig, Kitty Lagareta, Ramon de la Pena, Marlene Hapai, Jane Tatibouet
» New regents: Artemio Baxa, Carl A. Carlson Jr., Dennis Hirota, Howard Karr, Teena M. Rasmussen, Harvey Tajiri
» Continuing: Chairman Allan Landon (until 2009), James J.C. Haynes II (until 2010), Ronald Migita (until 2009)
In a June 20 letter to board Chairman Allan Landon, Lingle said she asked six regents whose terms expired Monday to stay on.
Senate Democrats said the Republican governor was ignoring the will of the people by refusing to select nominees from a list created by a new Regents Advisory Council.
"To me it feels like an effort is being made to circumvent the constitutional amendment" that created the Regent Advisory Council, said Senate Majority Leader Gary Hooser. "I don't think it's in the best interests of the university."
Hooser said the matter might end up in court but said he did not know whether the Senate would file a lawsuit asking the state Supreme Court to step in. He added that he would have to talk with other Senate leaders next week.
"This calls into question all the decisions made by the regents until it is resolved," said Hooser (D, Kauai-Niihau). "We don't need a cloud hanging over the board."
But Lingle said it is important to have a "transition period" with a mixture of old and new regents.
"I think clearly these are experienced people whose continued service will serve the best interests of the students and the state," Lingle said.
Landon said, "I'm happy that we have some veterans continuing."
Lingle would not say how long she expects the holdover regents to serve.
State law allows board members to remain on the board without Senate approval for up to two years "until a successor is nominated and appointed."
But the issue might be clouded by new laws and the constitutional amendment creating an advisory committee to screen regents for the governor and expanding the size of the board to 15 members from 12.
The board oversees the management of the 10-campus University of Hawaii system and is responsible for hiring and evaluating the job performance of the UH president. Regents are not paid for their service.