HONOLULU (KHON2) — In the general election, voters will choose Hawaii’s next governor, two county mayors and a number of state and county lawmakers. Hawaii and Maui County residents will also see charter amendments on their November ballot.
Maui County will have the most at 13, with some dealing with government transparency and trust.
“A lot of this is brought up from the communities and our communities are able to interject or participate,” said Shane Sinenci, Maui County Council member.
One charter amendment seeks to limit the powers of the mayor to appoint department heads. If voted yes, any department head appointed by the mayor will have to vacate office if they’re not approved by the county council.
“This is one way the council just wants to ensure that directors are qualified and that these people are not part of the old buddy system and that criteria is followed,” said Alice Lee, Maui County Council Chair.
Term limits for the prosecuting attorney will also be left up to voters.
“Throughout the state, we’ve had issues with corruption and that seeps into everything, everywhere. So I can see where people might be a little bit more skeptical about letting certain positions be occupied by the same person for a very lengthy time,” Lee said.
For Hawaii County, there will be a variety of charter amendments on the November ballot working to reform government ethics. It covers expanding the number of seats on its Board of Ethics Commission to giving more power to the county auditor.
“So rather than having to conduct full audit and investigations, if there are reports of fraud or abuse, the county auditor can investigate without a resolution by the council,” said Holeka Inaba, Hawaii County council member.
This comes as federal authorities charged additional Hawaii County employees in a multi-million dollar conspiracy case Monday.
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“The council supports any initiative that will ensure greater transparency and greater responsibility to county taxpayer dollars. Especially in light of those unfortunate events happening across government within the island,” Inaba said.