Wednesday, April 01, 2020
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 :: 4362 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

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

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 Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

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

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

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

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT