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Ethics: Big Island's Top Sheriff Busted Padding Payroll
By News Release @ 4:19 AM :: 6230 Views :: Hawaii County , Ethics, Hawaii State Government, Police

Department of Public Safety Deputy Sheriff - Alleged Violations of Fair Treatment Law

From Hawaii State Ethics Comm, July 19, 2018 (excerpts)

…The Hawaii State Ethics Commission (“Commission”) has resolved a Charge against Lieutenant Patrick Kawai (“Respondent Kawai”), an employee of the Department of Public Safety (“DPS”), for alleged violations of the State Ethics Code, Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”) Chapter 84.

The Charge1 alleged that Respondent Kawai violated the State Ethics Code by approving and/or securing compensation for himself and his subordinate employees for more hours than they actually worked in: (1) assisting a private party in carrying out an eviction on March 15, 2014; and (2) assisting DPS in conducting a test for deputy sheriff applicants on March 22, 2014.

(IQ Test: These are the only times he ever did this?)

The Commission and Respondent Kawai agreed to settle the Charge with Respondent Kawai’s payment of an administrative penalty of $6,000.00 to the State of Hawaii, and the Commission’s publication of this “Resolution of Charge” document, in lieu of further administrative proceedings….

Respondent Kawai, at all times relevant herein, was employed as a deputy sheriff by DPS, a state agency, in the Sheriff Division, Hawaii Section, which included units in Hilo and Kona. At all times relevant herein, Respondent Kawai held the rank of lieutenant and was the commander and the highest ranked officer of all Sheriff Division employees on the Island of Hawaii. …

Respondent Kawai, at all times relevant herein, resided in Hilo and worked out of the Sheriff Division’s office located in Hilo.

“Eviction”

On Saturday, March 15, 2014, Respondent Kawai and nine subordinate deputy sheriffs assisted a private process server (“Process Server”) in carrying out an eviction order pertaining to a tenant in Keaau, Hawaii (“Eviction”)….

Prior to March 15, 2014, Respondent Kawai estimated that the Eviction would require a team of ten DPS Sheriff Division personnel to perform ten hours of work.

Respondent Kawai organized and led a team of Sheriff Division personnel consisting of himself and nine subordinate deputy sheriffs (collectively, the “Eviction Team”) to assist with the Eviction. The nine subordinate deputy sheriffs included a sergeant and eight lower level deputy sheriffs.

Based on the compensation schedule set forth in the Special Duty Policy, Respondent Kawai determined and arranged with the Process Server that the Private Party would be charged for the Eviction Team’s services on an hourly basis, at the following rates: $40 per hour for a lieutenant, $35 per hour for a sergeant, and $30 per hour for a lower level deputy sheriff.

The number of hours each member of the Eviction Team actually worked on March 15, 2014 did not exceed 3.5 hours….

“Physical Agility Test”

On Saturday, March 22, 2014, Respondent Kawai led a team of Sheriff Division employees to assist DPS in conducting a “Physical Agility Test” (“PAT”) for deputy sheriff applicants, in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The team, which was organized by Respondent Kawai, included himself, fourteen deputy sheriffs from the Hilo unit (“Hilo Unit deputies”), and other DPS employees.

DPS employees who assisted with the PAT were eligible to receive overtime compensation -- that is, compensation at a rate of one and one-half times their DPS hourly rate of pay, or compensatory time off in lieu of overtime compensation (collectively, “overtime compensation”) -- based on the number of hours that they worked on March 22, 2014. 

Prior to the PAT, Respondent Kawai estimated that he and each of the Hilo Unit deputies would have to perform 12.0 hours of work (including travel time) to assist with the PAT.

Respondent Kawai and each of the Hilo Unit deputies actually worked less than 12.0 hours on March 22, 2014….   

read … Full Report 

HNN: Alleged violations cost a Big Island public safety employee a hefty fine

HTH: Sheriff’s division lieutenant fined for alleged ethics violations  

Hawaii Island’s lone sheriff’s lieutenant has agreed to pay a $6,000 fine for two alleged ethics violations that occurred in March of 2014.

The allegations were initially reported in 2016 when the Department of Public Safety’s sheriff’s division were re-evaluating its “special off-duty policy,” written in 2004. It was at that time that Hawaii Island deputies were benched from assisting in evictions, a special off-duty service.

Toni Schwartz, DPS public information officer, said the primary reason to pause the special off-duty service was to re-evaluate, update and consult with the police union.

“The allegations on Hawaii Island reinforced that need,” Schwartz said.

 

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