Published in The Maui News, April 5, 2015
By MIKE VICTORINO, for The Maui News
As chair of the Maui County Council’s Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee – which reviews appointments to the county’s numerous boards and commission – I’d like to thank the many Lanai, Maui and Molokai residents who step forward to serve their community by volunteering for the County of Maui.
On Tuesday at 9 a.m., the council will consider the committee’s recommendation to approve the nomination of Carlson Kukona III to the Public Works Commission. The nominee will hold the commission’s seat reserved for an expert in the Hawaiian language.
Council members have uniformly expressed their gratitude to Kukona for devoting his time and expertise to this important commission. Among other duties, the Public Works Commission helps establish street and place names, which is why it’s so important to have a member who is fluent in Hawaiian.
There are 34 boards and commissions, some of which have technical or geographic qualifications, though most are open to all Maui County residents. Nominations to fill board vacancies are reviewed by the committee throughout the year.
Appointees serve terms of up to five years. Serving on a board is strictly voluntary; no monetary compensation is provided.
The committee employs a methodical process in reviewing mayoral appointments to boards and commissions. We review application materials and consult with the mayor’s representative to ensure candidates possess the requisite interests, skills and, most important, commitment.
It’s a public process, to ensure transparency and fairness. Though public scrutiny can occasionally be unsettling, most board and commission members find the opportunity to assist the county government in making important decisions to be gratifying.
Boards assist and advise county departments in decision-making. We are grateful to those who serve for making a difference in the community.
Of course, there are numerous ways to volunteer, and everyone should be able to find an opportunity that works for them, whether it’s with the county or one of the many reputable nonprofit organizations in Maui County.
With April being National Volunteer Month, it’s a great time to search for organizations’ needs at handsonmaui.com.
The committee’s recommendation to accept $2.4 million in federal funding for the Kulamalu Affordable Housing Project in Pukalani will also be considered Tuesday. In addition, the council will consider a bill recommended by the committee to update the fire code based on new state and national standards.
My resolution urging the renaming of Iao Stream as Wailuku River – recommended for adoption by the committee – is also on Tuesday’s council agenda.
The state Board of Geographic Names will meet on Maui next month to take public testimony and discuss the proposed name change.
The committee also recommended adoption of a resolution, sought by county lifeguards, supporting supplemental compensation for ocean rescues conducted on personal watercraft such as Jet Skis.
The council can’t dictate the terms of collective bargaining agreements, but the resolution expresses the view that labor negotiations should include extra pay for lifeguards conducting open-ocean rescues.
Please let the council know how you feel about the committee’s recommendations on these issues. I hope to see you in the council chambers Tuesday morning.
* Mike Victorino is presiding officer pro tempore of the Maui County Council and chair of the council’s Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. He holds the council seat for the Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu residency area. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters. Go to mauicounty.us for more information.