Rail: The client is in panic mode
Dear Editor, October 29, 2016
It was doomed in the beginning. The design included a route and rails. Evidently it did not include the site engineering and related complexities: “Details” from relocation of power transmission lines to a power source were absent. Work was begun on a contract with a sorely incomplete design. Someone who knows more about the project could explain why things were done that way.
Here's something that anyone who has worked with large, complex system design will tell you. Don't ever sign on to something without a well-defined baseline. If you do, you will be so overwhelmed with change orders that nothing gets finished because it has to be re-done. Both the contractor and client will have to add staff just to deal with changes, their cost and other impacts, etc. As it fails to proceed, key people who see the hopeless disaster will start jumping ship, further crippling the project.
This project is a disaster for two reasons. First, the client either did not possess the expertise to proceed with the contract or worse, operated with knowledge of their plan's inadequacies.
Second, when costs started running out of control, no one was able to say stop. Again a failure of the client. The contractors are working on a specific task x for which they are paid. It isn't their obligation hold the client's hand. Things were allowed to proceed while the omissions cropped up, one by one.
In the real world, higher ups on both sides bring in new talent to get things under control. Old talent is reassigned (i.e. careers ended) while the rest of the staff wonders who's next.
But of course the real source of the problem is a political entity, which will only make things worse. The client is in panic mode. They don't even realize how bad they look. (Someone needs to tell then that their media event with rail cars that won't be in service i.e. tested for years makes them look stupid.) We've seen the first scapegoat. And again, none of them have the courage to act or care about what has to be done. Finding a way out will take expertise and a lot of work, done without trying to actively carry out the project. Perhaps no one really wants to see that done, because they have realized that it's a lot worse than they thought.
Think about this the next time undersea power cables are brought up.
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Rail: How could such exceptional and reliable people so fail this community?
Dear Editor: October 27, 2016
The mess that engulfs Rail has been caused, IMO, by the unfathomable "lack of transparency" between the Board and Grabauskas. Something is (was) seriously awry with this relationship, in that no one representing the Oahu citizens (the Board, mayor, City Council, governor, or legislature) seemed to have ANY KNOWLEDGE of how much and why the Rail funds were being disbursed.
(As a contrasting example, the all bids for air conditioning the schools were initially outrageously high, and news coverage of this stopped the bidding contractors in their tracks!)
Did the HART employees responsible for overseeing how the bids were approved take similar actions to keep the bids at reasonable levels?
Certainly NOTHING was made public, the HART board gave Grabauskas high ratings, while the money ran out. Why didn't ANYONE on the board take ANY action when they realized they had absolutely no control or oversight of Grabauskas" mis- or malfeasance?
The HART board was replete with outstanding members of the community, who had achieved their reputations through lifetimes of honorable service and success. They were all leaders. How could such exceptional and reliable people so fail this community?
My conclusion is that some did see the personal risks to their reputations of a "no control" board, and separated themselves as soon as they could, others following as the "Grabauskas syndrome" effects started becoming more apparent. But, it seems, the Board members never adjusted their relationship with Grabauskas to allow for SOME degree of reasonable oversight into how things were going, and, instead decided to "bail out".
What would cause these excellent leaders to depart their important Board memberships? I was shocked when Don Horner left the Board. Can't he, or won't he, publicly shed some light on the Rail problems? Would it be too far-fetched to have ALL the Board members, past and present, interviewed (or give testimony?) as to how and why the Rail failed under their (lack of) leadership?
Were they "hamstrung" by Hawaii politics?
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Exodus at OHA
Open Letter to OHA CEO Kamana’o Crabbe, October, 2016
I heard you're having a meeting with some employees to talk about employee issues and the turnover here. I'm going to give you honest feedback even though I wasn't invited to it and maybe you'll actually get it.
This year we lost a lot of good people who had a lot to contribute here. But they left because they couldn't deal with what they feel was total hypocrisy from upstairs. People are angry and all along we've been telling you to get rid of ineffective people who are useless (like ‘E’, ‘K’, your LOBs) and you refuse to do it. You think these yes-people are great. You're wrong. Did you know that Hawley doesn't want outside funds for OHA because they don't want the oversight? Did you know the State Auditor is still going to rip OHA for its poor grants management? Did you know that the State Auditor will also rip OHA's HR for horrifying hiring practices? And why is ‘D’ even still working there after she pocketed the Christmas wreath contest money and also crashed her truck on the building and then lied about the circumstances? Oh! How about all those "merit pay raises" to Edwina's friends and other insiders?
And you're wasting money on these ridiculous parties for the cape and all this Hawaiian stuff and then you tell us about your million dollar budget shortfall?! And you're giving money to all your insiders.
You have a real problem brewing here and you're turning a blind eye so why would anyone ever believe you unless you actually do something?!
Clyde and Ogata had this place functioning. Why can't you?
(Editor’s Note: Three of the names were removed for publication.)