Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Thursday, September 25, 2014
Fired chief procurement officer blows whistle on Hawaii DOE procurement troubles
By Malia Zimmerman @ 6:43 PM :: 5462 Views :: Education K-12

Fired chief procurement officer blows whistle on Hawaii DOE procurement troubles

by Malia Zimmerman, September 25, 2014, Watchdog.org

HONOLULU— The former chief procurement officer for the Hawaii Department of Education has filed a whistleblower lawsuit [2]in Oahu’s 1st Circuit Court.

Andrell Aoki is an experienced lawyer trained in procurement law and was responsible for overseeing $100 million in DOE contracts annually since 2007.

Aoki says she was wrongly terminated in March because she opposed her supervisor’s plan to issue several key federal contracts illegally.

Aoki said she and her nine-member staff reviewed 200 to 300 DOE contracts annually to ensure compliance with state procurement code and administrative rules.

In the lawsuit, she says Amy Kunz, the DOE chief financial officer, tried to push through projects and contracts without regard for state regulations or laws.

When Aoki questioned the legality of several DOE contracts, she was fired.

Specifically, Aoki says she and Kunz clashed after Kunz insisted in August 2012 on issuing a non-bid contract to the New Jersey-based firm, the Danielson Group, to provide training for what was to be a newly implemented teacher evaluation system.

The project, called the “Teaching Observation Protocol,” is connected to the U.S. Department of Education’s Round Two of Race to the Top funds.

She said “pre-selecting” the Danielson Group violated state law, because other groups offered similar products and methods and should have been allowed to bid.

In March 2013, the State Procurement Office initiated its own investigation into the contract award and said the violations were of a magnitude and seriousness that justified terminating the contract.

Aoki said both Kunz and the DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi retaliated against her, intimidated her and ultimately fired her.

In another case, Aoki said the DOE illegally issued a multi-million dollar contract to Lenovo, a computer manufacturer, for laptops.

The contract was part of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s controversial “Laptops for Learning Project,” in which he planned to issue a laptop to every public-schools student.

The DOE issued the request for proposal on June 13, 2012, but then delegated the lap top project to the governor’s office, Aoki said, in clear violation of Hawaii law.

The contract should have been canceled and rebid, Aoki said, but Kunz approved the contract.

Dell Computers challenged the Lenovo award.

The state Procurement Office also launched an investigation and told the DOE to cancel the contract and to again put it out for bid.

Aoki noted she has been a stellar employee, receiving the “Government Transformation Champions of Change Award” from the Office of Information Management and Technology, because of her commitment, dedication and support to improve the state Department of Education.

But personnel reviews from Kunz after she pointed out illegal activities called her “unyielding” and “inflexible.”

Honolulu attorney Roman Amaguin represents Aoki. He said DOE officials were served with the lawsuit last week and have 20 days to respond.

Donalyn Dela Cruz, a spokeswoman for the DOE, said the department doesn’t comment on pending litigation.


Article printed from Watchdog.org: http://watchdog.org

URL to article: http://watchdog.org/173453/hawaii-doe-procurement-troubles/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://watchdog.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2014/06/Screen-shot-2014-06-20-at-10.29.40-AM.png

[2] whistleblower lawsuit : http://www.luminpdf.com/files/4829114/aoki_filed_suit.pdf

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

HIEC.Coop

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT