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September 1975

October 1975

Update: City Government
From the President (Carol Whitesell)
September Calendar
Aloha to these New Members
League Day at City Hall
Goodies and Equipment
Volunteers Needed
Transportation Position

From the President

One of my goals this year is to become better acquainted with Honolulu's city/county government. Our fall premiere is League ay at City Hall, which is designed as an introduction to what goes on and who does it at CityHall. I hope it will whet your appetite for more. I'd like to see the Honolulu League develop its expertise in city government and share it with the community. That's what League is all about.

A Government establishment of mental and moral eunuchs

The problem of how to deal with conflict of interest has been on my mind since May. This month I'd like to share some thoughts on the subject from Senator (and former LWV president) Mary George taken from a letter chiding City Council for its action on Diane Hastert's appointment to the Planning Commission. Mary has been closely associated with the issue of ethics in government.She was a sponsor of Honolulu's ethics laws and a member of the first State Ethics Commission.

...The philosophy behind most ethics legislation is to make sure that when a conflict of interest is present, the public servant acts in the public interest and not in behalf of his private interest. Ethics legislation does not intend to eliminate conflicts of interest.... these are usually considered inevitable, and certainly not condemned as'bad'. (Which of us doesn't live with an assortment of conflicting interests?)

To restrict the lively demands of government service to those who could somehow demonstrate an antiseptic absence of any conflict of interest would be to create a government establishment of mental and moral eunuchs.

Government has need of board and commission members (as well as elected officials) whose conflictive interests are indeed their principal qualifications public service...In consideration of the probability of confiicts, the rules and regulations of almost every agency I know of set forth the way in which members may abstain from action when a personal conflict of interest warrants such abstention. These rules emphasize a general recognition that we need on our boards and commissions at least some members with involvement and expertise in the subject on which they advise and regulate.

But if the rejection of Mrs. Hastert stands, precedent applied to all other appointments would dictate the rejection of any appointee active in a trade or profession under the purview of the board or commission to which the appointment is made.

This is a brand new interpretation of the ethics ordinance, and, as a sponsor of the original legislation, I can assure you a complete departure from the intent of the 1969 Council in voting its passage.

Carol Whitesell

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