CIRA de CASTILLOTGI Staff Writer
LIHU’E — The Kusaka Administration’s refusal to disclose the names of
committee members appointed to evaluate proposals for a new solid waste
disposal system is being questioned by staff attorneys at the Office of
Information Practices (OIP) as well as by the state’s chief procurement
Lloyd Unebasami, administrator of the state Procurement Office,
said Tuesday that he believes the county may choose either to disclose or not
to disclose, but, he said, the decision not to disclose may not be
“I think they have to think about that at this point,” he
An OIP staff attorney, who is reviewing the matter, questioned the
county’s refusal to disclose the names and said that state procurement law may
not be applicable in this case.
The attorney cited a 1995 OIP opinion
that states that the names of unpaid consultants to a government office are
County Attorney Hartwell Blake said Tuesday that his office
had contacted both the OIP and the state Procurement Office before making the
decision not to disclose the names.
“After talking to them, we were
confident that we were acting appropriately,” he said. “But in no way is this
to imply that they are making the decision or approving what we do. All we did
was talk to them to get a reality check, so to speak.
“And we feel that
what we’re doing is appropriate.”
Blake said committee members are being
kept secret to preserve the integrity of the procurement process.
names won’t be kept in confidence forever, he said. “As soon as we feel it’s
appropriate, and certainly no later than the signing of the contract, the
names, as part of the procurement file, will be revealed to the public,” he
Though Mayor Maryanne Kusaka said in a press release Feb. 18 that
names of committee members would not be revealed until a contract is awarded,
she disclosed the names at a recent public meeting.
According to sources
who attended the joint County Council/Administration meeting, Kusaka revealed
names of committee members.
Not only are the names of committee members
being kept secret from the public, but the group’s meetings will be unannounced
According to the state open meeting law, advisory committees
are considered to be public bodies and must post agendas and conduct public
meetings where members of the public can speak.
The solid waste committee
will ultimately make a recommendation to the County Engineer and Finance
Director as to which proposals would most adequately address the County’s solid
While not revealing committee member names in a February press
release, Kusaka characterized their backgrounds saying members represent a
broad range of experience in the fields of procurement, engineering,
construction engineering, law, environmental health, finance and accounting,
from both the private and public sector. More than half of the committee is
comprised of members that are not employed by the county, she said.