Wednesday, June 20, 2007


"Personnel is Policy" in Hawaii

The Hawaii Civil Rights Commission is poised to deal a blow to victims of sexual harrassment in the workplace (see: Changes in harassment rules tip balance toward employers). This policy is being perpetrated by Lingle appointees who might benefit from some public scrutiny and questioning. Remember Michael ("you're doing a heck of a job") Brown the horse-race expert appointed by Bush to head FEMA? It may be happening in Hawaii too, big time. Unless the public speaks up to stop it.

The phrase "personnel is policy" first became widely used, according to Google, in the Reagan error era, but is still applicable today. Bush's appointments to the Supreme Court, for example, will continue to haunt us long after Bush himself becomes a distant if ever-painful memory.

It's the same in Hawaii, and explains why this past legislative session saw moves to restrict the governor's power of appointment. Lingle is in her last term, but her legacy will linger on through her appointments of judges and others to offices under her control.

And as noted by Doug White in an article yesterday in Poinography, the HCRC is composed entirely of Lingle appointees:
They are an Army general, an HR professional, a corporate lawyer, and an educational filmmaker.
Lingle has appointed supporters and their spouses to other key positions. It can be argued that the bungled firing of UH President Evan Dobelle by a board of regents stacked with Lingle favorites was an act of political revenge. That one backfired badly, but these politicos' actions generally escape the public eye. As Doug notes in his post, HCRC minutes seem not to be online, so none of us know what they are usually up to.

It's reasonable to challenge unwanted actions perpetrated by poorly credentialed political appointees, and the people of Hawaii should do so.


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