S Memo 12-15

Posted on Jun 26, 2012 in Informal Opinions - Sunshine Law

S Memo 12-15
June 26, 2012
Sufficiency of and Omission from Agenda

Requester asked for an investigation into whether the Hawaii County Board of Ethics (HCBE) violated the Sunshine Law by (1) listing public testimony before new business on the September 23, 2009 meeting agenda, (2) failing to name the petitioner and the County employee who was the subject of the petition on the same agenda; and (3) failing to include letters sent to the HCBE Chair on an agenda as correspondence. 

OIP found the following:

(1) Public testimony may be taken on all agenda items at the beginning of a meeting. OIP Op. Ltr. No. 06-01.

(2) The two agenda items, Petition No. 2009-6 and Petition No. 2009-07, were described with sufficient detail to allow the public to understand what the HCBE intended to consider at the meeting and to decide whether or not to participate in the meeting. 

(3) The Sunshine Law does not address the question of whether a board is required to consider an issue when requested; it only provides that issues a board does choose to consider at its meeting must be properly listed on its agenda. See HRS § 92-7 (Supp. 2011). The HCBE, therefore, did not violate the Sunshine Law by declining to place on its agenda or consider the matters raised in Requester’s letter to the Chair.