Published in The Maui News, Oct. 26, 2014
By GLADYS C. BAISA , For The Maui News
If you’ve recently visited the Council Chambers on the eighth floor of the county building or watched a meeting on Akaku, you may have noticed a new big-screen TV monitor mounted on the left wall of the chamber.
As part of our ongoing effort to make the County Council’s work more accessible to the constituents we serve, it’s an exciting upgrade that allows meeting attendees and Akaku viewers both to see displayed materials and presentations in vivid color while chamber lights stay on. This facilitates discussion with presenters and council members.
The council is also making its records more accessible by putting them in electronic form readily available to the public, with the added benefit of saving taxpayer money in storage costs.
Did you know the Office of the County Clerk has digitized all council meeting minutes for the last century? The project includes records dating back to 1904, comprising more than 116,000 pages.
The new council term beginning Jan. 2 will allow the council to reconfigure the structure of its standing committees, as well as adopt a new version of council rules. To view the existing rules, adopted by Resolution 13-3, go to MauiCounty.us/rules.
At the request of members of the public, council committee agendas starting this week will now reference the day of the week in addition to the date. We also have a new calendar at MauiCounty.us, where agenda viewing is responsive to all mobile devices and doesn’t require a PDF download.
This is a committee meeting week, so you can review the schedule at MauiCounty.us/calendar.
Council staff is researching the experience of other local governments with having an ombudsman’s office. An ombudsman is usually an independent official dedicated to investigating or mediating public complaints.
Do you think establishing a Maui County ombudsman is a good idea?
We invite you to email your suggestions as to changes you think will make your experience of the legislative process better. Send your thoughts to email@example.com, referencing “Chair’s 3 Minutes.”
If you’re in either the public sector or the high-tech industry, you might want to plan on joining council staff at the third annual Hawaii Digital Government Summit on Dec. 16 in Honolulu. The council has recently joined the “Transform Hawaii Government” movement, and the summit will be an opportunity for the council to learn methods to use emerging technologies to make local government more effective and efficient, including through private-sector partnerships.
In other news, the Hawaii State Association of Counties continues to work on its legislative package for the 2015 state legislative session. The HSAC executive committee will meet to discuss the legislative package and other matters of common interest to the four Hawaii counties at the Grand Wailea on Dec. 5.
On the same date, the board of the National Association of Counties will meet at the same location, with Maui County Council Member Riki Hokama presiding. We are proud to note that for the first time, all four members of the HSAC executive committee serve on the NACo board.
For those planning ahead, HSAC will host NACo’s Western Interstate Region Conference May 20-22 on Kauai. The 2015 HSAC conference, to be hosted by Maui County, is slated for June.
A hui hou.
* Gladys C. Baisa is chairwoman of the Maui County Council and holds the council’s Pukalani-Kula-Ulupalakua area residency seat. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters.