Delay sought in
A legislator says the six nominees
need to understand operations
criticized in an audit
By Pat Omandam
House Speaker Calvin Say has suggested the state Senate delay confirmation of Gov. Linda Lingle's six nominees to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents until it receives a detailed orientation on UH operations.
But confirmation needs to be done before the Legislature adjourns on May 1.
"I hope there is a plan of action for these six candidates. They are well qualified, but do they understand government budgeting?" Say said yesterday. "If they don't, then we are negligent on our part as far as confirming these individuals."
Five of the six nominees, announced on Monday, were members of Lingle's election campaign team.
They are Kitty Lagareta, Shelton Jim On, Byron Bender, Edward Sultan and Alvin Tanaka. The sixth nominee is Trent Kakuda.
Say (D, Palolo) attended a joint briefing of the House Higher Education and Senate Education committees yesterday to hear university officials and state Auditor Marion Higa talk about results of a legislative audit of six special funds last month that the auditor said were mismanaged.
Rep. K. Mark Takai (D, Newtown) urged UH officials to again review Higa's audit and address issues raised, not just those they responded to in the report. The audit found numerous accounts of mismanagement, such as questionable expenditures, outdated procedures and lax monitoring of the funds.
J.N. Musto, UH Professional Assembly executive director, said the report further undermines the credibility of the university and creates a public perception there is money for faculty raises and programs if the UH administration wanted to give it.
Say told the committees that the departure this summer of six experienced regents creates a "tremendous vacuum" in the operational knowledge of UH.
It is the Senate, not the House, that confirms gubernatorial appointees, including Cabinet members, various board members and judges.
Senate Education Chairman Norman Sakamoto (D, Salt Lake-Foster Village) said yesterday that Senate confirmation hearings of the six appointees are to occur next week or the week after.
But in light of Say's questions, Sakamoto said he will need to check with UH officials to "see what works."
Absent from the briefing was UH President Evan Dobelle, who was attending a neighbor island business meeting.
UH general counsel Walter Kirimitsu told the committees UH officials are planning a comprehensive orientation for the regents.
University of Hawaii