Thursday, April 19, 2018
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, May 05, 2017
Court: OHA Trustees Violated Sunshine Law Responding to Kerry Letter
By News Release @ 6:29 PM :: 1775 Views :: Akaka Bill, Ethics, OHA

COURT UPHOLDS OIP OPINION ON OHA

News Release from Office of Information Practices, May 5, 2017

Following an appeal to the court by the board of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), the First Circuit Court upheld the Office of Information Practices’ Opinion Letter No. F15-02, which had determined that the OHA board violated the Sunshine Law when it (1) engaged in serial communications outside a meeting when deciding to rescind a letter sent by its Chief Executive Officer (CEO); and (2) did not allow the public to testify on an agenda item scheduled for executive session.  As allowed by law, OIP did not participate in the court’s April 19, 2017 hearing and let its opinion speak for itself, which resulted in the court’s “Order Denying Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Board of Trustees’ Motion for Summary Judgment” in S.P. No. 14-1-0543 (JPC).

The May 1, 2017 decision by Judge Jeffrey P. Crabtree has been posted to OIP’s website.  On the first issue, Judge Crabtree concluded that OIP’s opinion was not palpably erroneous in finding that the OHA board’s rescission letter was “board business” subject to the Sunshine Law.  The court reasoned that even if the CEO’s letter was beyond his authority as OHA argued, the board’s rescission letter was still board business that should have been discussed and decided in a meeting open to the public, or held pursuant to the emergency meeting or online video conference provisions of the Sunshine Law.  Instead, the court agreed with OIP that by engaging in serial communications through phone calls and e-mails that led to the board’s decision to rescind the CEO’s letter, the board had violated the Sunshine Law.

At a noticed meeting held after the rescission letter had been sent, the OHA board immediately went into a closed executive session to discuss with its attorney the CEO’s contract and appropriate board action concerning his conduct, without first permitting public testimony.  While the board could properly discuss private personnel issues with its attorney in an executive session, the court again agreed with OIP that the board first had to allow public testimony on the matter before going into the closed session.  The court recognized that public testimony may have been helpful to the board and could have furthered the Sunshine Law’s policy of encouraging public participation.  As the law requires the Sunshine Law to be liberally construed in favor of conducting business as openly as possible, the court concluded that OIP was not palpably erroneous in determining that the Sunshine Law’s public testimony requirement applied to executive session agenda items.

The OHA appeal was the first agency appeal to a circuit court taken from an OIP opinion since the 2013 amendments to the UIPA and Sunshine Law’s appeal provisions took effect.  OIP is glad to see that the law is working as intended and that OIP’s opinion was upheld as being not palpably erroneous, without the need for OIP to defend it in court.  For OIP’s law review article on the 2013 law and administrative rules and additional training materials, go to OIP’s training page.

For the latest open government news, you can check for archived copies of What’s New articles, which are posted at oip.hawaii.gov or can be e-mailed upon request by e-mailing oip@hawaii.gov.  Also, if you would like to receive What’s New articles or attachments in a different format, please e-mail or contact OIP at (808) 586-1400.

---30---

PDF: Court Order

2014: State: OHA Broke Sunshine Law to Rescind Kerry Letter (Full Text)

DN: Will state agencies learn from court ruling in OHA Sunshine Law violation?

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 Conservative Alliance

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'ole Eradication

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

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

Friends of Lanai

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

GoGoGMO!

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 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 Open Budget

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 Senate Informer

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Hawaii Votes

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu TEA Party

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

Hunting, Farming and Fishing Assoc.

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

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

No Hawaii Beverage Tax

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

OHA Lies

Ohana Policy Group

OpenHawaii.org

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

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

TEA Party Maui

TFB Micronesia

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

United Veterans Hawaii

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

YAL UH Hilo 

Yes2TMT

 

 

 

Maui TEA Party
Maui TEA Party