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ACLU’s Gluck to lead state Ethics Commission

  • STAR-ADVERTISER / DEC. 4, 2007

    Daniel Gluck

The State Ethics Commission chose Daniel M. Gluck, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii, as its new director today, replacing Les Kondo, who was appointed state auditor in April.

Gluck is leaving the ACLU and will start his new position Aug. 1.

The position of ethics chief can be a high-profile and thankless job. Kondo shifted to the auditor’s office after sparking controversy for his hard-nosed approach to interpreting the state’s ethics laws.

Gluck is used to handling hot topics as legal director and former senior staff attorney for the ACLU, where he focused on civil rights, including constitutional law and anti-discrimination cases.

“We are excited to have Gluck join the commission’s staff as executive director,” Commission Chairwoman Susan DeGuzman said. “He possesses stellar academic and professional credentials and has demonstrated the temperament and skills to help fulfill the commission’s mission.”

The executive director oversees enforcement of the State Ethics Code and the Lobbyists Law, educates state employees on their ethical duties and provides legal advice to the commission. The commission investigates wrongdoing and has the power to levy fines.

Gluck said he was honored to be chosen and would work respectfully with all stakeholders. He added that he believes most government employees and lobbyists want to behave ethically.

“I will work to ensure our state’s lawmakers, employees, and lobbyists adhere to the highest ethical standards,” he said in a statement.

Gluck attended Cornell University and Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. He later clerked for a Hawaii Supreme Court justice and a U.S. District judge in Honolulu. He also worked for the Honolulu office of Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing before joining the ACLU staff in 2007.

The executive director’s salary, which is set by statute, is $138,935 a year.

The ethics code prohibits favoritism, conflicts of interest and accepting gifts that are intended to influence or reward state employees for their official actions.

Shortly after Kondo was hired in January 2011, he infuriated some legislators when he told them they could no longer accept free tickets from lobbyists to attend expensive charitable fundraisers. He also cracked down on state employees accepting free golf outings, meals and other gifts.

Last year, Kondo and the commission set off a firestorm after advising teachers to stop traveling free as chaperones on out-of-state field trips they’d organized with tour companies for their students.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association challenged the commission in court and Circuit Judge Rhonda Nishimura invalidated the Ethics Commission’s travel advice last month. She said that because it applied to a broad group — all teachers — rather than just an individual case, it was subject to official rule-making, which involves public input.

Honolulu’s longtime city ethics director, Chuck Totto, agreed to step down last month after butting heads with city leaders.

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  • We will have to see how Gluck does and how long he lasts if he starts bucking the old boy network. Seems like he prefers a government job versus the private sector.
    That may not bode well if you want a strong ethics commission or just a rubber stamp for those who have political power and influence.

    • He appears to be a decent choice. Let us pray for him. The corruption out here is appalling for those of us from North Dakota. You can count on the old boyz undermining him at every step of the way.

      • No, it’s always a winning bet here to criticize every single public official, no matter what. Forget their education and experience – just be sure to be spectacularly ignorant about a situation and then criticize it.

        That always works!

  • “advising teachers to stop traveling free as chaperones” — wow, every time the Star-Advertiser reports on this, the ethics problems are minimized. The teachers where getting expensive gifts like FREE IPADS for chosing one travel agency over another. The cost to the students may not matter when the teacher is facing a free ipad. That is very different from simply saying “teachers travel for free as chaperones.”

    • Of course nothing is “free”, the child ticket prices are being inflated to compensate the travel agency for the “free” Teacher tickets. The DOE also does not use a competitive bidding process, they were allowing Teachers to choose which Travel agency to use. Hence the free Ipads and who knows what other “free” incentives that were offered to Teachers. This type of procurement system has a Huge potential for kickback schemes and all sorts of illegal and corrupt behavior. It’s not a question of if, it’s when. If the DOE feels these trips serve a legitimate educational purpose, they should budget to pay for them. Common sense you would think.

      • Bidding for what? There was no state money involved.

        What are you talking about?

        It’s not a procurement system. Can’t you just research things a little before commenting?

    • I know you won’t be able to do this, but I’ll ask anyway…

      How do you expect that Mr. Gluck would be able to take “tax payers money for the ACLU?” That’s not true, of course. But I’m interested in your theory.

      • he will now have direct access to confidential information the government has which will enable easy lawsuits against the tax payers. kind of a conflict of interest, you can’t be working for the government when you are the one that regularly sues them for money.

        • Give the kid a chance and best of luck to him. If he hasn’t done so already hope he sit down with someone who will be honest about how things operate and have operated in Hawaii for many, many years. This would include the politics, politician,, and the many cast of characters. Good luck.

        • The ACLU sues the government to get it to stop trampling peopleʻs rights. The money only happens when the government is dumb enough to double down on its discriminatory, unconstitutional practices (more often than Iʻd like, as a taxpayer). And then, itʻs just attorneyʻs fees and costs, as provided for under Federal law.

        • That is a ridiculous theory. Absurd.

          Do you not understand that he is leaving one job to take another? Please … at least try a little bit.

        • TheFarm – Thank you for this. Thank you for being that rare person that actually learns something about the subject before commenting.

          It’s remarkable that so few people understand what the ACLU does. Thanks for helping to educate folks who otherwise choose to remain willfully and pridefully ignorant.

  • Dan is an excellent choice for this position. He has outstanding credentials for the job and will be a strong proponent for fairness within the law. Congratulations!

      • You’ve made it clear that you luxuriate in your ignorance, but no, that’s not what the ACLU does.

        As “TheFarm” correctly wrote, the ACLU steps in when the government tramples on the rights of any of us. They always try first to use reason, but if that doesn’t work, they use the legal system to force government to obey the Constitution and the law.

        It would be wonderful if you could use this as a learning experience!

        • Translation: Protecting criminals, keeping them out of jail, and giving them tax payers’ money.

        • goodday – If you think it’s a good idea to be abused by government, just wait until you’re wrongfully arrested for something because of a mistake. Remember today and rethink your position.

          You’ll be begging for the ACLU to help you.

    • No, they don’t. The ACLU has defended gun owners as well as Nazis and a lot of other groups that wouldn’t ordinarily be called left wing.

      It’s true that right wing nut jobs here generally don’t understand the Constitution or law (despite commenting frequently on both) but ACLU is actually a group the protects anyone from government overreach and abuse.

        • That’s not true of course. But you’re free to make up whatever facts you choose.

          The ACLU, for instance, argued for the privacy rights of (admitted drug addict) Rush Limbaugh during the government’s investigations into his crimes, through examinations of his medical records.

  • I guess Kondo had enough heat running afoul of legislators who want to continue business as usual which would explain his move to the auditor’s office….as how successful and how long Gluck will last..time will tell….but I think he will run into the same problems that Kondo experience…..

  • Certainly sounds as if he has the CV for the job. It’s also refreshing to see a different name instead of recycling people from one department to another. I wish him all the best in trying to bring trust and accountability to government in Hawaii. I sincerely hope that the system doesn’t chew him up in the process.

  • not a good pick – he is an outsider; brings mainland thinking – we know better than you island natives. he does not understand the culture and ways of doing business, nor the political structure. he will interpret the law in an ivory tower. we need a reasonable and pragmatic person, one who understands how thing are done and the local politics.

    • Do you know anything – anything at all – about his judgment, work ethic, or knowledge or interpretation of the law? How about his research and writing work while he was a judicial clerk? How about anything else about his work output?

      The correct answer, obviously, is no.

      Most likely, you just made up your comment in your head with no basis in fact of any kind. Zero.

  • And for the State elected and appointed officials, employees, and unions that had trouble with Kondo, wait until you see the ACLU in action.

    • You’ve already proven over and over again that you have absolutely no idea what the ACLU does to protect our rights. No clue whatsoever. You just make up and write things.

  • The corrupt politicians in Hawaii have replaced the state and city ethics directors with people who will do as they’re told to do. Why even have an ethics commissions? One party rule removes any possible public benefit to having them. It’s all just for show.

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