Posted tagged ‘City Council’

Senator Subordinate

June 24, 2010

KITV had an good story that hasn’t gotten much attention about Mililani state Sen. Michelle Kidani’s off-session job as an aide to new Honolulu City Councilman Lee Donohue, who was appointed to fill the last six months of Charles Djou’s term.

A legislator can’t legally hold a second state job, but Kidani says she’s obtained a city ethics ruling that it’s OK to work for a county.

The position pays her $4,000 a month, slightly more than the $3,856 she makes as a senator. In the off-session last year, she returned to the job with the Honolulu neighborhood boards office that she held before winning the Senate seat from Ron Menor in 2008.

Kidani says there’s no conflict between working for a council member and serving in the Legislature, but that seems questionable.

The city has major dealings with the state, especially on funding, and interests that often differ. She could well find find herself voting as a senator on city issues she worked on as a council aide.

Besides the potential conflicts, it just seems unbecoming for a sitting senator to serve as a council member’s wonk.

The job can’t sit well with her colleagues in the Legislature, who have argued that they deserve higher pay because their jobs, while officially part-time, are effectively full-time.

If Kidani can work a demanding full-time job for another government agency during the eight months the Legislature is out of session, obviously the Senate position is very much part-time.

The return of the out-to-lunch councilman

June 23, 2010

Honolulu Councilman Rod Tam is fully back in the saddle three months after colleagues censured him for the second time in three years and stripped him of all committee assignments for ethics violations relating to $13,700 worth of falsified meal expenses he charged to the city.

In a reorganization announced by the council yesterday to reflect Lee Donohue’s replacement of Charles Djou in the East O’ahu seat, Tam was restored as chairman of the Planning Committee, named vice chair of the Boards and Commissions Committee and given seats on the budget and zoning committees.

It’s simply irresponsible for council leadership to give so much power to someone who has shown so little regard for taking care of taxpayers’ money. Chairman Todd Apo must be getting hard up for votes.

There are only six months left in Tam’s dismal term, and he should have been left to serve it sitting in the corner.

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