The Honolulu City Council recessed today without electing a new chairman, meaning no Council business will be taking place for at least the next six days.
Council Vice Chairwoman Kymberly Pine will remain chair pro tempore until a time, date and place to be determined. Because of state public meeting requirements, six days advance notice must be given.
Without any leaders selected, no committee assignments have been made and no meetings of any sort have been scheduled for the year.
The uncertainty was caused by a legal challenge against the election of Trevor Ozawa, who won re-election to the Council District 4 seat by beating former state Rep. Tommy Waters by 22 votes.
Ozawa had been expected to be voted chairman by a five-member majority today. Ozawa and three other Council members on Thursday introduced Resolution 18-294, which calls for Ozawa to become chairman and Pine to continue in that role. Ozawa and Pine had been viewed as the two most likely members to lead the new makeup of the nine-person Council.
But the Hawaii Supreme Court, in an unprecedented move, late Friday asked election officials to respond to questions raised by Waters and a group of East Honolulu voters that separately challenged the votes.
The state Office of Elections responded to the questions Monday. This afternoon, the High Court issued a new order granting Waters’ request for additional time to file a response. He will have until 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Judge Lisa Ginoza, chief judge of the state Intermediate Court of Appeals, issued the oath of office to members Heidi Tsuneyoshi, Brandon Elefante and Carol Fukunaga, all of whom won four-year terms this fall, but not to Ozawa.
The eight voted, however, to allow Ozawa to sit with them in the “well” of the Council chambers through today’s proceedings, and he sat as Elefante, Fukunaga and Tsuneyoshi took their oaths.
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