KIUC considers videotaping meetings

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative members are considering videotaping monthly board meetings for later viewing by the public, KIUC directors said Tuesday.

KIUC’s executive committee this month discussed the possibility of recording meetings and posting them on the website for Ho‘ike Community Television, board directors Pat Gegen and Carol Bain said.

The committee, composed of board Chair Phil Tacbian, Vice Chair Jan TenBruggencate and directors Allan Smith and David Iha, will revisit the discussion at its next meeting in May.

Gegen and Bain, both long-time KIUC transparency proponents, said the biggest opponent to recording board meetings has been KIUC legal counsel David Proudfoot, who has expressed concern about the board exposing itself legally.   

Proudfoot announced his retirement at the March 27 board of directors meeting. He will soon be replaced by Kaua‘i County Deputy Attorney Laurel Loo, who sat in the audience at Tuesday’s meeting.

Currently, the board’s policy is to make an audio recording of each monthly board meeting for the person who creates the meeting minutes for later reference. After the minutes are prepared, the audio recording is destroyed, typically within two weeks.

Minutes traditionally have been brief — approximately three sentences per motion, concluding with whether or not a particular motion passed. According to co-op staff, it has been the KIUC board’s long-standing policy not to include details about member testimony or director votes in meeting minutes.

Furthermore, the board’s eight directors have traditionally voted yes or no at once, making it difficult to discern who individually is voting yes or no.

But with the addition of new directors Karen Baldwin and Gegen to the board, the board’s long-time veil of vagueness might finally be lifting.

Since Gegen and Baldwin’s first board meeting on March 27, the new directors have sought greater transparency.

It started with Baldwin’s request at the outset of the meeting to have the votes of the directors recorded in the minutes for that meeting. No motion was required, and it was agreed by unanimous consent that a show of hands would be used for voting at that meeting.  

In testimony to the board of directors later that day, The Garden Island requested that in the interest of transparency and more meaningful voter participation in elections, the board consider regularly including how individual directors voted on motions in its meeting minutes, unless the vote is unanimous, rather than only listing whether a motion passed.

Board director Allan Smith applauded the testimony.

After a recess, Gegen moved that the board meeting minutes become more detailed, including public testimony and how directors voted.

After discussion, the motion was amended to record the votes of every director on every motion in meetings using a roll call vote by exception.

Directors Smith, Baldwin, Gegen and Bain voted in favor of the motion. Tacbian and two other directors voted against it. Absent from voting was new director Calvin Murashige and TenBruggencate, who had left the meeting early.

Although a majority of directors voted in favor of the motion, it failed for a lack of a super-majority, advised Proudfoot.

• Vanessa Van Voorhis, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681, ext. 251, or by emailing vvanvoorhis@thegardenisland.com.

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