Chief search may take another year

A California-based nonprofit government agency has met Hawai‘i requirements in order to sign a Kaua‘i County contract to begin the search for a new police chief.

At a meeting of the Kaua‘i County Police Commission at the historic County Building yesterday, deputy county attorney Rosa Flores announced CPS Human Resources Services has completed a certificate of compliance and should have completed a tax clearance form by the end of Friday.

Once the requirements have been met, Flores said she will draft a contract with language both the county and the company will find acceptable.

The commission has been happy with the progress made so far, Flores said, after the meeting. “They are pleased we got confirmation that the documents have been completed,” she said.

The company has provided services to Hawai‘i in the past, but had to meet the requirements again because they probably expired, she said.

Although the county will stand by its one-year residency requirement for police chief candidates, the county will not reject any applicants from the Mainland, Flores said.

The CPS search may take a year or more, and by that time, a Mainland applicant may have met the residency requirement, she said.

Based on an interpretation of a state law, the county Attorney’s Office has taken the stand that a June 26 federal court ruling — that Hawai‘i-residency requirements for government jobs are unconstitutional — doesn’t apply in the selection of department heads, including the police chief.

Federal Court Judge David Ezra rendered his decision in an ACLU-class action suit brought forth last year on behalf of Mainland applicants who complained they were passed over for consideration for Hawai‘i jobs because of the lack of residency.

The police chief position opened up after K.C. Lum retired last June following an investigation by the Kaua‘i Board of Ethics found former police commissioner Michael Ching acted improperly during the selection process.

Critics said Ching gave Lum an unfair advantage by lobbying for him to become the next police chief in mid-2004.

Acting police chief Clayton Arinaga has repeatedly said he doesn’t want the job.

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