For Immediate Release: June 14, 2014
Press Release by:
Gladys C. Baisa, Chair
Maui County Council
Maui County wins national award for civic engagement
WAILUKU, Hawaii – The National Association of Counties has recognized the County of Maui with a 2014 Achievement Award in the category of civic education and public information, Council Chair Gladys C. Baisa announced today.
The award, which will be formally presented at NACo’s annual conference in New Orleans on July 13, is based on the Council’s implementation of a system that allows public testimony to be received from the Council’s district offices in Hana, Lanai and Molokai – remote parts of the county. An email from NACo to the Council on June 12 stated: “Due to its exceptional results and unique innovations, your program has been chosen to receive the honor of Best of Category!”
Baisa credited former Council Chair and current County Clerk Danny A. Mateo for initially implementing the program in December 2012.
She also noted Councilmember Robert Carroll proposed creation of a system allowing testimony from Hana, Lanai and Molokai in 2011. That suggestion was followed by an amendment to the Maui County Charter, submitted by the Charter Commission and approved by the electorate in 2012, to establish “interactive communications access” for testifiers in designated areas.
Baisa said more than 80 people testified from the Council office in Kaunakakai, Molokai, during a two-day committee meeting in February of this year.
“This Council from the beginning of the term on Jan. 2, 2013 has been concerned with making County government more transparent and accessible to everyone in the County, no matter where they live,” Baisa said. “This award is gratifying because it highlights our efforts to promote civic engagement.”
Baisa also noted the Council has developed a weekly newspaper column, a blog and Facebook and Twitter accounts this term.
As part of the interactive communications programs, testimony from Hana, Lanai and Molokai is received at all Council and committee meetings conducted in the Council Chamber in Wailuku.
Baisa provided the following addresses and contact information for the district offices:
Hana: 5091 Uakea Rd., Building A, Room 1, Hana, 808.248.7513
Lanai: Eighth St., Lanai City, 808.565.7094
Molokai: 100 Ainoa St., Kaunakakai,808.553.3888
The NACo website, www.naco.org, provides the following program abstract:
“Maui County is unique in the United States as the only municipality consisting of three populated islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. In 2012, the Maui County Council established an interactive communication system enabling residents in the county’s more distant regions to testify before the council and its committees remotely, without having to expend the time and money necessary to travel long distances to the county seat in Wailuku, located in an area known as Central Maui. Residents have embraced the program, with many contributing their opinions, ideas and facts in audio testimony via the new system. Council members are pleased with the enhanced mechanism for receiving vital input from their constituents throughout the county, who are heard and recorded at the Council Chamber via speakerphone. In November 2012, voters approved an amendment to the county charter proposing the establishment of a vehicle for remote testimony. The system debuted in December 2012 and is now an integral component of the council’s meetings.”
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