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Government Accountability

Government accountability has gotten a lot of attention on both the local and national levels. As public servants, all those elected and appointed are accountable to residents and responsible to exercise stewardship over the land and waters. I'm very proud of my accomplishments in helping to make that happen more effectively.


In 2018, as Council Chair, one of my first goals was to create an entirely new committee system of organizing the work of the County Council so that it was more effective in addressing resident's needs. Included in that initiative was the establishment of the Government Ethics and Transparency Committee.

The new committee is responsible for:

  • Mayoral appointments requiring Council approval, including board and commission members and administrative heads of departments.

  • Litigation matters, authorization of settlement.

  • Issues relating to government ethics and transparency.

  • With Council authorization, conduct investigations of (i) the operation of.. Read More

My most recent accomplishment in this area relates to the

Charter Amendments proposed to voters for approval this

November.  I worked closely with Council Members Keani

Rawlins-Fernandez ( Moloka'i), and Shane Sinenci,

 (Hana/ East Maui) to write these Charter Amendments to

address issues related to the ability of the Council to respond to

the needs of residents. As the legislative branch of County

government, we are responsible to represent the interests of our

islands but we discovered this year, that various aspects of the

County Charter were unclear in ways that prevented us from

fulfilling the wishes of the residents. Kelly's position has been

consistent as you can see from this 2016 video..



This Amendment changes a position that already exists by requiring that the person possess the same professional skills required of most municipalities in this same position, to run county operations and manage departments. It would no longer be a political appointment by the Mayor but instead,  selected by citizens, Council Members, and the Mayor together.  (Read More)

Proposed term limits for Council Members limit them to five two-year terms. Currently, three Council members have exceeded that amount. It limits the Mayor to two 4 year terms. Currently, it's possible for the Mayor to remain in office for over 12 years so that one person can establish influence and control both inside and outside the government. It allows the County to enjoy the benefit of the experience and talents of new Mayors at least every 8 years.




A conflict arose when a resolution, approved by the Council that I introduced to withdraw the Lahaina Injection well case from the United States Supreme Court. In litigation by the County in the lower courts for over 12 years, costing the county millions of dollars. By withdrawing the case, we would prevent a possible watered-down re-interpretation of the Clean Water Act affecting the entire nation. Financial settlement terms offered to the County were modest and focused on the County solving the problem of wastewater damaging our reefs but provide recycled water for use in local landscaping




The administration was able to circumvent the Council's vote to withdraw,  the Supreme Court ended up ruling against us resulting in a judgment far most costly than the settlement terms. The County is still in litigation! Proposed Charter Amendment 4 will enable the Council to function according to the County Charter to remove the loopholes that rendered our legislation powerless.

The proposed change allows the Legislative Branch and the Executive Branch to work as a team to approve all changes to the County Charter which include the structure of our government and all matters of Maui County law. Currently, only the Mayor can appoint the person with this authority.

Charter Amendment 7- Establish a Department of Agriculture


Establish a separate department focused on agriculture to reduce the County’s dependence on imported food, promote food sustainability and resiliency and boost economic growth in the agricultural sector. It would ease regulatory hurdles, form cooperative support, further develop local food hubs, and apply for agriculture grants. It would be a boon for small and mid-size farms.

  • County departments; and (ii) any subject within the Council's legislative authority.
  • Amendments to the Charter and oversight of implementing amendments passed in the previous election.

  • Intergovernmental issues

  • Operations and performance audits of the Office of the Mayor (except the Office of Economic Development), Department of Corporation Counsel, Department of Management, Office of Council Services, Office of the County Clerk, Department of Fire and Public Safety, Department of Liquor Control, Department of Personnel Services, Department of Police, and Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, including the operational oversight of any grants they administer.

  • Implementation of the following General Plan objective: Strive for Good Governance.


New Council Committee structure

(con't from above)
County Council Ethics and Transparency Committee - Responsibilities

Proposed Charter Amendments related

to accountability

Charter Amendment 4 - Establish standards for interpreting the Charter with the ability to authorize judicial action when a conflict is raised

Charter Amendment 2 - Establish a professional managing director for the executive branch

Charter Amendment 5- Allow the Council to review and approve changes to the Charter which include Laws and the basic structre of our government. 

Charter Amendments 3 and 6 - Establish stricter term limits for the County Council and Mayor

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