For Immediate Release: July 7, 2020
Press Release by:
Michael J. Molina, Chair
Governance, Ethics and Transparency Committee
Proposed charter amendments on Friday’s council agenda
WAILUKU, Hawaii—Six proposals to reform the structure of Maui County’s government will be considered for passage on first reading on Friday at 9 a.m., Councilmember Michael J. Molina announced today.
After day-long deliberations June 23 and 30, the council’s Governance, Ethics, and Transparency Committee recommended passage of resolutions to propose stricter term limits for the mayor and councilmembers, a department solely dedicated to housing and three other charter amendments, said Molina, who chairs the committee.
“These proposals are intended to allow residents of Lanai, Maui and Molokai to decide on Nov. 3 if they want to change the Maui County Charter, which is our local government’s constitution,” Molina said. “I commend my colleagues for so carefully vetting numerous proposals and settling on the charter amendments that appear most important this year.”
The committee also recommended giving voters a chance to establish a Department of Agriculture, which could “establish a separate department focused on agriculture to reduce the County’s dependence on imported food, promote food sustainability and resiliency and boost economic growth in the agricultural sector,” according to Committee Report 20-78.
One charter amendment would establish standards to interpret the charter’s provisions, Molina said.
In addition, another proposal would specify that the nine-member council will appoint nine of the Charter Commission’s 11 members, with the mayor appointing the other two, he said. The Charter Commission will convene by March 1, 2021, for the purpose of comprehensively review the charter and considering if additional amendments are warranted for the 2022 general election.
The following committee reports, or CRs, recommend first reading of the respective resolutions:
- CR 20-73: To establish stricter term limits for councilmembers by limiting the number of terms a person may serve as a councilmember to five two-year terms.
- CR 20-74: To establish standards for interpreting and complying with the charter, including by requiring a viable judicial action to be filed within 30 days to seek clarity when a conflict in the interpretation of the charter is identified.
- CR 20-75: To require the Department of Housing and Human Concerns be divided to form two separate departments, a Department of Housing and a Department of Human Concerns.
- CR 20-75: To authorize the council to appoint nine members and the Mayor to appoint two members of the 11-member Charter Commission, which is required to study and review the operation of the county government.
- CR 20-77: To establish stricter term limits for the mayor by limiting the number of terms a person may serve as mayor to two terms.
- CR 20-78: To establish a Department of Agriculture to develop a sustainable regional agricultural system for Maui County.
Molina said the committee didn’t recommend approval of several proposals. For example, the council will also consider the following charter amendments that were recommended for filing, or rejection:
- CR 20-79: To require the council to meet at least 21 times annually, rather than bimonthly.
- CR 20-80: To increase council terms to four years.
- CR 20-81: To authorize the council to retain and terminate special counsel by a simple-majority vote.
- CR 20-82: To authorize the council to appoint and remove a Director of Council Services and a Supervising Legislative Attorney and authorize the Director of Council Services to appoint and remove other necessary staff in the Office of Council Services.
The resolutions that pass first reading this Friday will be heard by the council for second and final reading on July 24. An affirmative vote of six councilmembers is required at each reading.
The charter amendments that pass second reading will be placed on this year’s general election ballot. Molina said two charter amendments have already made it to the ballot through the adoption of resolutions on two readings.
Resolution 20-59 proposes to extend the affordable-housing fund. Resolution 20-60, Draft 1, proposes that the executive branch be reorganized to have a professional managing director be appointed by the mayor as the county’s chief operating officer, assuming some management functions currently granted to the mayor.
For information on how to submit testimony on these agenda items and to review the resolutions and committee reports, please visit mauicounty.us/agendas.