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Hawaii DOT employee accused of misusing state resources

KAILUA-KONA » A superintendent for the Hawaii Department of Transportation is under investigation after the state Ethics Commission found that he had used state resources for his own personal purposes.

Francis “Kepa” Kekaualua has been fined $3,000 as part of a settlement agreement with the commission. He has not admitted any wrongdoing, West Hawaii Today reported.

Kekaualua is accused of using state staff and equipment to assist him after a tire blew out on his personal truck in Kona in August. He allegedly used a company vehicle to drive home and then ordered other employees to go pick up his truck and change the tire.

“Employees who are entrusted with state property and other state resources for the performance of their official duties must uphold the public’s trust by ensuring that state property and state resources are used for official purposes only,” the commission’s May 23 report states.

Records show the employees logged the hours of work for Kekaualua while on the clock.

DOT spokeswoman Shelly Kunishige said in an email that Kekaualua is under a “management investigation” and has not been put on leave from his approximately $60,000 annual job.

Kekaualua didn’t return messages for comment left Thursday and Friday on his work number or a phone number for him on the Kelii’s Campaign Spending Commission report.

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    • agree..tip of the iceberg. DOT is an especially bad department of the state. Lots of abuse and crime. His salary is $60,000 a year? For what. A banana could replace him and be more productive at 10 dimes a year.

  • While it’s good to see them catching the offenders, unfortunately, their priorities are misaligned by chasing petty offenses by low ranking workers while Caldwell and his cronies at the HART department steal billions right from under them in the largest taxpayer racketeering scam in recent history.

  • This is peanuts compared to the rampant abuse that occurs every day. Taking sick leave days to do side jobs using State resources such as electrical parts, chemicals, cleaning supplies,etc. Using State vehicles to pick up personal supplies on and off the clock. Calling in sick to go golfing, fishing, or whatever as the get 21 days of sick leave annually that they don’t have to provide documentation for if not taken for 5 straight days ( really how many private side workers can get away with taking up to 5 days of paid sick leave without having to explain it?). Taking 30 minute breaks every morning and afternoon (although allowed only 15 min.) and 1 hour lunches (30 min.allowed). Taking an hour or more start of each day to “prepare” and taking at least 30 minutes at the end of each day to “clean up”.

  • When caught they should be immediately fired. Abusing their high paying jobs is not acceptable. He probably will now be trying to come up with a legit story on why he used State resources for his personal use i.e ‘Brah I thought was okay as long as I did my job’.

    • Their government unios bosses will go the extra mile that the firing will not take place….remember we are in a state where the legislature is in the pockets of these government unions…..here is just one reason unions don’t belong in government….Do you anything will change?…think again, Hawaii has too many Gruber electorate and they will keep voting the same clowns election after election. The Sunshine law that was passed many years ago is slowly eroding….getting information on misdeeds by state or public employees is very difficult to acquire…..

      • I have but I was also careful to scrupulously document, provide opportunities to improve, and insure that substantive and procedural due-process was respected and provided. Managers and administrators also have to do their jobs correctly. The rules are in place to prevent some of the abuses of the past.

  • Well he’s only following in the foot-steps of Billy. What’s wrong with that??? I think the volcanic vog has eating away their brains on the Island of Hawaii. nobody can tall what’s morally right and wrong there?????

  • The story leaves out a lot. Was he on official business driving his personal car? Is he entitled to mileage rate or actual cost of use of car? Was he suppose to be driving the company car when he had this problem? Was the employee that questioned him a disgruntled employee out to get his boss? If it was a serious violation, I am sure he would have been fired and not just fined.

  • The DOT should have suspended him without pay while it conducted an investigation to determine what kind of disciplinary action that will be taken against him……hopefully the State Attorney General will also look into this case as well……..

  • Why is this news? Acts like this have been standard practice for state employees for decades due entirely to the “Weak Link” of state government management. Which flows down from the weak link of the state governor’s office.

    Lets not forget how with full approval of management, state employees were allowed to watch Netflix, Hulu, other video sources on state computers, on state broadband, all paid for by state taxpayers.

    Sad to say just another day in the little 8th world of Hawaii Nei.

  • Sounds like no real big deal to me. Was commonplace actually in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Sounds like pathetic, jealous, unhappy people just feeling good about themselves by pointing fingers.

  • Oh please! What about the UH Manoa administrator’s fake “research” trips to China (making the university pay) when he was really on personal business visiting his Chinese wife’s home/family. He spent thousands of dollars on such travel before he was warned to stop by the former chancellor and Board of Regents. Talk about cover up! If you want misspending, take a good look at the expenditures of UH administrators.

  • There should be criminal charges brought forth in these kinds of cases. Reimbursement is not enough. The abuses of this sort is out of control in the City and County.
    Often times managers are afraid to act because of possible confrontation with the unions( UPW ) ( HGEA ) I think that the biggest offense is not stealing public property
    but for stealing government time. Not all employees are guilty of these things. Most employees follow the rules and the law.

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