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Ethics panel clears water board but calls for audit

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 02:11 p.m. HST, Feb 20, 2014

A city Ethics Commission investigation has determined no ethics laws were violated in the awarding of three Honolulu Board of Water Supply contracts but called for the city auditor to examine management and performance issues.

One of the contracts investigated is tied to the agency's recent problems involving billing and customer service. More than half of the Board's 162,000 customers received estimated bills showing charges higher or lower than their actual usage last year due to a series of problems.

The investigation was requested by board officials after a member of the public made allegations of misconduct, the commission said Thursday.

The commission looked into whether any relationships existed between the members of the board's contract selection committee and those awarded the contracts. There were no business, financial or personal relationships that created a conflict of interest, the commission report said.

However, the commission said it found systemic problems and asked that the board and auditor take corrective action to prevent possible ethics violations in the future.

Board Manager Ernest Lau said he is pleased that the commission found no ethics violations.

"We appreciate the commission's recommendations to review certain systemic issues within the BWS and we are taking action to improve these areas raised in the opinion," Lau said in a news release.

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BWS contracts were ethical, report says

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AhiPoke wrote:
I'm curious as to how the ethics commission came up with their determination. IMO, there's a difference between "no ethics violation" and "questionable insider dealing". My recollection is that they issued a contract with a former employee that included the questionable benefits of more than $11k/month in housing and food allowance. That doesn't sound like a normal contract term to me.
on February 20,2014 | 01:36PM
Locokane wrote:
The Ethnics Commission is a part-time body that can't do a very thorough investigation. So "systemic problem" could very well mean questionable insider dealing, sloppy work which leads to wrong doing, and of course, waste. To me that means leadership is at fault for letting this practice continue, but as usual no action will be taken.
on February 20,2014 | 02:32PM
localguy wrote:
BWS may have passed the ethics test but it still remains "stupid is as stupid does" Ensure there are no pay raises or bonuses for all BWS bureaucrats for the next two to three years. Clearly there is a price for utter incompetence by clueless, dysfunctional, BWS bureaucrats. Truly BWS is a rudderless, engineless, captainless ship adrift on the ocean.
on February 20,2014 | 03:26PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
They also gave Nestor Garcia a pass. If they are just going to rubber-stamp bad behavior and bless crooked dealings, they should be disbanded.
on February 20,2014 | 04:00PM
islandsun wrote:
The ethics commission looks the other way and calls for an audit. Something is wrong with this picture. Only in Hawaii would you see this kind of thing go unchecked.
on February 20,2014 | 04:10PM
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