Trustee Akina Questions OHA Administration’s Fiscal Sustainability Planning
Contractors confirm no implementation plan currently exists
News Release from Dr Kelii Akina, PhD January 19, 2017
HONOLULU, HI- Today, OHA Trustee Keli‘i Akina, Ph.D. led the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Resource Management Committee in questioning accounting firm Spire Hawaii and OHA CEO Kamana’opono Crabbe over a contract for financial consulting services that ballooned from an initial $95,000 commitment to $723,000 from 2014 to 2016.
Trustee Akina transmitted his analysis of Spire’s work to RM Chair Hulu Lindsey after giving representatives from Spire an opportunity to answer his questions about Spire’s duplication of research that OHA administration was or should have already been doing, and the existence of an actionable plan. In response to Trustee Akina’s questioning, Spire’s Executive Vice President, Rodney Lee, confirmed that no actionable plan has been created, and that the substance of their work thus far has been “essentially guidance.”
Trustee Akina then prompted CEO Crabbe to explain why the contract was modified four times, resulting in significant changes to the scope of services required of Spire. Trustee Akina raised the question as to whether state procurement law had been followed in the multiple increases to the award given the contractor.
In his first week after assuming office in December 2016, Trustee Akina transmitted his own report, “Crucial Recommendations for Fiscal Sustainability,” to the Board of Trustees. In his report, Trustee Akina made specific recommendations for maintaining the intergenerational equity of the public lands trust by controlling spending, raising revenues and urging his fellow Trustees to show leadership and fiscal discipline.
“In order to meet the needs of OHA’s beneficiaries for housing, jobs, education and health care, it is important to run a tight ship financially. We as Trustees have a fiduciary duty to ensure that OHA’s assets are protected and grow.” Trustee Akina said.
OHA Trustee Keliʻi Akina, Ph.D., is a community leader who is known for the phrase he has coined, "E Hana Kākou" - Let's work together! Over the past several years as a public policy adviser at the legislative, congressional and international levels, Dr. Akina’s mission has been to preserve the Aloha Spirit by which native Hawaiians and people of all races are welcomed and encouraged to work together for a better future for all our keiki. He is president and CEO of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a nonprofit, independent think tank.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this news release are the personal views of Trustee Akina and may not reflect the views of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs or its Board of Trustees.
1. PDF: Akina Questions SPIRE Pacific Contract
2. Crucial Recommendations for Fiscal Sustainability