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Thursday, February 14, 2013
Historic Preservation Division Offers Feds a Laundry List of Excuses
By Selected News Articles @ 4:42 PM :: 6213 Views :: Development, Hawaii State Government

Historic Preservation Division Offers Feds a Laundry List of Excuses

Excerpts from Hawaii State Historic Preservation Division Report to the National Parks Service Feb 1, 2013

Hawaii State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) has made significant strides over the past two years in correcting deficiencies in its program despite being faced with a serious budget shortfall. There are still several things the state continues to work toward in ensuring a robust historic preservation program, and these are discussed below. This report will provide an overview of the State Historic Preservation Program, brief recaps on those areas that the National Park Service (NPS) has stated are substantially complete, and more detailed reports on those areas that need continued work. Appendix A contains the revised SOPs, as requested, and Appendix B contains a five year work plan for SHPD….

Hawaii counties have very generous tax incentives for houses listed on the national register. Given Hawaii’s high property rates this can mean a tax savings of over $10,000. For this reason, we receive many nominations for houses of people seeking to receive the tax break….Additionally, businesses can receive county and federal tax credits for rehabilitating historic buildings for commercial use, although these are not widely used. Neither these nor any other incentives are available for “sites.” In addition, the research and survey of an archaeological site is costly and time consuming….

SHPD had stopped a contract to develop an electronic intake form because the product did not collect the data required by the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) grant. Subsequently the division hired an IT Manager who will create the form in-house. However, the creation of an electronic intake form has been moved to 2014 or perhaps 2015….

The Hawaii Government Employees Association (Union) must be provided an opportunity to comment on the proposed reorganization. SHPD and Personnel have started the reorganization and are waiting for the Union to comment….

…we take exception to your characterization of the SHPD Administration having staffing, recruitment and retention issues and as well as the implication that these issues are caused by mismanagement of the division….

As an explanation, not an excuse for some of the hiring delays NPS should understand some of the state processes. From 2009 to July 2011 there was a hiring freeze with a very brief respite between January and March of 2011 when the new governor took office….After the hiring freeze was lifted staff hired still required Budget and Finance Approval and the Governor’s signature for general funded positions. This slowed the process down significantly. Around November or early December of 2011 the DLNR budget analyst left for vacation and all our paper work at Budget and Finance stopped moving….

Reduction in Force (RIF), furloughs, and salary reductions aside, there are continuing recruitment issues. However, those issues have to do with supply and demand, which cannot be addressed solely through funding or the creating of positions in the division. Hawaii has a small cadre of archaeologists in the State, the State pay scale is low, and archaeologists are in demand. SHPD also requires that archaeologists have prior work in Hawaii. This requirement makes sense … but it limits recruitment to the pool of in-state archaeologists.

The problems with hiring will not go away any time soon….

SHPD does not dispute the finding that it needs more staff, only the implication that it is dragging its feet on hiring. Unfortunately it is time consuming both in the amount of paperwork and checking done by the state, and in the time it takes to find qualified candidates….

FULL TEXT: Hawaii State Historic Preservation Division Report to the National Parks Service

CB: New SHPD Report Not as Glowing

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