Saturday, October 2, 1999

City & County of Honolulu

Bomb threat edict
spurs anti-city suit

By Debra Barayuga


A union representing government employees is suing the city for violating procedures calling for evacuation of Hanauma Bay in the event of a bomb threat.

The suit, filed yesterday in Circuit Court on behalf of 10 workers -- Hawaii Government Employees Association members -- at Hanauma Bay, asks for the court to order the city to follow evacuation procedures.

It also asks a judge to make a judgment declaring employees have a right to a safe working environment and not require them to search for bombs.

Since July 5, Hanauma Bay has received several phone threats from anonymous callers about bombs planted and set to explode at the popular tourist spot.

Employees have followed city Parks Department procedures that require employees and any others at the park to leave.

But effective Sept. 1, Mayor Jeremy Harris instructed employees to ignore the rules and instead of evacuating, remain at the park and search for the bomb, the complaint said.

The mayor's directives puts its members at risk of death or serious injury since none have been trained or equipped to handle explosive devices, the suit said.

The city has a statutory duty to ensure safe working conditions, including installing metal detection systems or bringing in bomb-sniffing dogs, the suit said.

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