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Thursday, May 9, 2019
Ethics: No Union Logo on City Uniforms
By News Release @ 1:29 AM :: 3983 Views :: Ethics, Labor

From Honolulu Ethics Commission

October 17, 2018


(REDACTED), Director

Department (REDACTED)

Re: Formal Advisory Opinion 2018-4 — (Proposed)


Thank you for consulting with the Honolulu Ethics Commission ("Commission") regarding (REDACTED) . You asked for advice as to whether the proposed provision would violate the City's Standards of Conduct, Article XI, Revised Charter of Honolulu ("Standards of Conduct").

After reviewing the matter, it is the opinion of the Commission that the provision would violate the "Fair and Equal Treatment" section of the Standards of Conduct. Based on the information provided, it is our understanding that the City is currently negotiating (REDACTED) .  One of the provisions proposed by (REDACTED) concerns (REDACTED) . Specifically, (REDACTED) proposes:


The Revised Charter of Honolulu ("RCH") Section 11-104, also known as the Fair and Equal Treatment law provides: "Elected or appointed officers or employees shall not use their official positions to secure or grant special consideration, treatment, advantage, privilege or exemption to themselves or any person beyond that which is available to every other person." The Commission has interpreted this to generally prohibit city employees from using their position to endorse or promote private organizations.


For this reason, we believe that allowing a non-city entity's logo to be adopted as part of the official (REDACTED) uniform would give the non-city entity (i.e., (REDACTED)) preferential treatment over any other existing and potentially similar organization.

Finally, we would be remiss not to mention the effect of the recent decision in Janus v. AFSCME, 585 U.S. (Jun. 27, 2018), which holds that State and public sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees. (REDACTED) . 

We appreciate you consulting with us on this important matter. The advice in this letter is based upon the information provided. Please inform us as soon as possible if we have misstated any of the facts, as this may affect the advice given. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

Very Truly Yours,

Michael A. Lilly

Honolulu Ethics Commission, Vice Chair


PDF: Letter as posted on Ethics Comm Website


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