The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustees met today in closed session to deliberate about the future of their only employee. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka has this update.
Eight of the nine Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees met behind closed doors in executive session. They discussed the performance of OHA chief executive officer, Kamana’opono Crabbe, to include the possibility of terminating his contract. Cynthia Caberto took leave from her job in the OHA fiscal section to make a plea to the trustees to stop their in-fighting.
“The true travesty here is the monies that have been spent for legal fees amongst you all fighting with each other. The minutia needs to stop. Lay your swords down against each other and embrace one another to move our people forward.”
A state audit in February criticized OHA for its spending practices and oversight including $14 million in discretionary funding. Damont Connor told the Trustees that the CEO isn’t the only one to blame.
“Thirteen of the $14 million, you guys were responsible for passing that. You guys went sign off on that. So, you going throw the bruddah under the bus for something you went sign off on. If the paperwork wasn’t correct; you shoulda went catch that. In the policies and procedures wasn’t tight, that’s your duty to
But, after nearly two hours in executive session, OHA Board Counsel, former state Supreme Court associate justice, Robert Klein, said CEO Crabbe was on voluntary leave and no final determination was made.
“The CEO is their sole employee. So, they spent quite a bit of time today, as you know, discussing all aspects of the CEO’s performance. And have not reached a conclusion because they have more that they want to look into and more they want to discuss, And, as you know, the CEO was not present so that discussion will continue.”
But, OHA trustee, Keli’i Akina, repeated his appeal for accountability, short of naming the CEO.
“I need to respect the confidentiality of the executive session, but, I do wanna say that I have been on record already calling for serious action being taken by my fellow trustees to deal with the financial revelations about the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.”
OHA Board Chairperson Colette Machado says public testimony in support or against CEO Crabbe will also be allowed to continue.
“The decision that we made today was to continue to inquire about the evaluation of the CEO. That was it. People are open to make all the comments they would choose to but it’s the board that makes the final outcome.”
A three-fourths majority vote from 6 of the 9 members will be required to terminate the CEO contract, which was previously considered by the Trustees last year but did not have the required votes. Wayne Yoshioka, HPR News.