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Council-manager system would serve county better

I certainly agree with Mr. Mickens “Other Voices,” (TGI, Oct. 6) “Kauai’s mayor-council system not working.”

We have a laundry list of undone issues under our current system that must be changed. The Kilauea Gym roof is still leaking after 22 years with thousands of dollars wasted and still not fixed.

We have a multi-use path being built, costing us an obscene $5.2 million per mile.

We have 300 miles of county roads that are in horrible shape, like Puhi Road.

We have a solid waste program that has been and is still in disarray.

We have an administration and council who found a way to turn a $50 million-plus surplus into a $3 million deficit.

And we have a council member who wants to add 1/2 a percent to our excise tax to buy more diesel fueled buses that we do not need. The addition of more diesel buses is unnecessary. The minority ethnic groups on the island, in order to cope with the high cost of living on Kauai, need their cars to move from one job to a second and/or third jobs. How can adding more buses be a solution for this need to get to multiple jobs?

The council member proponent of this insane idea, who lives closest to the Historic County Building, drives to work instead of walking or riding her bicycle, as she used to do in the past. Isn’t this called hypocrisy?

Our present system is geared to the theory that we can just keep overspending on unneeded projects. And with the outgo continuously being greater than the income we simply raise taxes and fees to pay for this insane type of operation.

Private business would go bankrupt following this type of Modus Operandi but as long as our government has this bottomless pit, taxes and fees to rely on, the waste and inefficiency will continue.

The council unanimously hired a fiscally responsible person to be our auditor, Mr. Ernie Pasion, and it appeared that at long last we had an honest, dedicated person who would look after the people’s interests, not the interests of those in power. The eight audits that he did were textbook classic and rather than be shown and discussed before the council and the public, they were shelved.

And one of them was so revealing by showing illegal use of county gasoline that our auditor is now fighting to keep his job.

How can a highly qualified person be hired for a job, a job he did with distinction, and then be thrown under the bus? Because Kauai’s mayor-council system is not working with its appointments of inexperienced, incompetent people to key positions as political appointees.

When I was hired to be an inspector for the Department of Highways, I got the job because I was qualified, not because I was related to someone at the top or was their campaign manager.

We must go to a council-manager type system where the manager, with his qualifications and experience, will show results or he can be fired, unlike a mayor, whose qualification according to the county charter is inadequate to effectively and efficiently operate a quarter-billion-dollar-plus county corporation, has his seat for four years no matter what the results he shows.

People like Mr. Pasion should be the standard set for all those hired to run our government. Under a manager system, there is no way he would be fighting for his job because one of his audits pointed the finger at the wrong person.

•••

Joe Rosa is a Lihue resident.

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