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Monday, December 1, 2014
Honolulu Ethics Commission: City Officer Under Investigation
By News Release @ 6:19 PM :: 5147 Views :: Honolulu County, Ethics

A redacted Honolulu Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion released in November reveals that an Officer of the City and County of Honolulu is under investigation by his or her subordinate.   The report does not reveal the subject of the investigation nor the alleged violations which may have brought the investigation about. 

From Honolulu Ethics Advisory Opinion No. 2014-7, November, 2014 (excerpt)

SUMMARY

The Honolulu Ethics Commission ("Commission" or "EC") found that a city officer who is under investigation by a subordinate has a personal conflict of interest such that the officer should not participate in the annual evaluation of the subordinate.

ANALYSIS

Generally, the ethics laws prohibit a city official from participating in any official matter in which a reasonable person may question his/her impartiality due to personal and/or financial interests. (RCH Sec. 11-101 1; RCH Sec. 11-102.1(c2)

A reasonable person may question the officer's impartiality in evaluating the subordinate as the city officer is currently the subject of an investigation being conducted by the subordinate.  This statement is not to be construed as implying that the officer's judgment would in fact be affected, only what a reasonable person could think. For example, if the subordinate received a negative evaluation, a reasonable person could believe that the officer is misusing his/her position to give the subordinate negative treatment in retaliation for the investigation. But, even if the subordinate received a good evaluation, a reasonable person could believe that the officer is trying to curry favor with the subordinate in an attempt to influence the investigation. This is a situation in which the officer cannot give a credible evaluation. The evaluation of the subordinate should be delegated to another officer....

read ... 2014-7

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