Kaua‘i residents approve six charter amendments

LIHU‘E — In addition to elections, voters leaned heavily in favor of six Kaua‘i County Charter amendments.

Residents voted in favor of reducing the qualifications required to be considered for the roles of the county’s Department of Public Works County Engineer and Water Board Manager.

In both of these cases, the Charter Review Commission — the group that researches and formulates these questions — found that these roles have transitioned into more a more administrative role away from requiring an engineering degree, and allowing someone with engineering experience who may or may not be an engineer registered with the state to fill the positions.

Sixty-one percent of voters, in both questions, voted in favor of decreasing the qualifications.

These two positions have historically been difficult to find qualified candidates to fill the positions.

On the other hand, qualifications for the Kaua‘i Police Department Chief have increased.

Now, to be hired, to be hired the candidate would have at least 15 years of work experience, 10 as a peace officer in a full-service law enforcement agency or public sector, and at least three of those in an administrative role as a lieutenant or higher rank.

The amendment, which garnered 24,343 votes in favor to 6,339 against, also adds the requirement of a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice, business administration, public administration or similar administrative field.

Residents also voted overwhelmingly in favor (26,389 to 3,401 votes) to expand the list of county employees that would need to disclose business and local re-estate holdings. This amendment includes the managing director, all agency and division heads, and regulatory employees, such as building-permit inspectors and liquor-control investigators. Already, the charter requires elected officials, department heads and deputies, the purchasing administrator and members of boards and commissions to disclose.

The county voted to realign its negligence claims timeline to be in line with state law, which supersedes the county. Now, anyone alleging injury by negligence of the county can submit a written claim within two years from the incident, up from six months.

Finally, the county has established how the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney may fill a vacancy of one year to 18 months through the charter.

A housekeeping amendment, that had support from current Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar, allows the mayor (with council approval) to appoint a prosecuting attorney if there is no deputy prosecutor.

Previously, the charter specified that if the seat of the prosecuting attorney were to be empty less than a year, the first deputy would set in. However, if the vacancy is longer than 18 months, a special election would be held. There was no protocol for the time in between that, between one year and 18 months.

Voters favored that the first deputy to fill the position for that time by a 23,853 count to 5,613 votes.

1 Comments
  1. Audit County! November 5, 2020 12:35 pm Reply

    County departments should be subject to audits and performance evaluations as well. There are good workers in county and state, but there are unfortunately so many toxic, lazy and incompetent people pooling together in various departments that anyone with a work ethic either gets sick of footing the brunt of the work and leaves, or stops trying. It’s not even a matter of whether you’re “local” or not, it’s all about whether you’re friends with the in-crowd of loud, usually unintelligent people sitting on jobs and doing little more than gossiping about everyone else and trying to shift attention away from the fact that they’re useless.


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