Saturday, March 05, 2011
Does Gov. Abercrombie think he’s still in Washington?
by Larry Geller
Nobody holds Congress to following the law. Maybe it’s just too far away and out of sight. But back in Hawaii at ground level, it’s different.
Ian Lind pointed out this morning that the Governor has apparently appointed a staff position at the Office of Information Practices without legal authority. Abercrombie should first respond to this, and correct his error if the charge is substantiated. Will he?
The appointment effectively leaves acting OIP director Cathy Takase without a job. Abercrombie crossed swords with Takase by refusing to release the names on the list of choices for appointment to the Supreme Court that she pointed out he was legally obligated to do.
So Abercrombie removed Takase, which he was entitled to do, but now seems to have prevented her from resuming her former job. This looks bad, besides the fact that he appears, as Ian has researched, to have no right to do that.
But Gov. Abercrombie’s office just appointed another person to that vacant OIP staff attorney job, apparently without legal authority, since the statute gives all authority for hiring to the director.
[ilind.net, Did Gov. Abercrombie exceed his legal authority in making OIP staff appointment?, 3/5/2011]
Abercrombie is developing a reputation for “Ready, fire, aim” decision-making, starting with his much publicized announcement that he would release information on President Obama’s birth certificate, only to find out, as most of us here knew, that it was illegal to do so. It appeared that being away in Washington, he was out of touch with the long-running issue and didn’t check his facts before making his statement.
Towards the end of Ian’s article he asks whether Abercrombie’s actions are just a series of awkward missteps. A good question. At this point, it’s up to Abercrombie to show he can shoot straight.
I would hope there is another side of the story to this. If not then while I would not go so far as to say this is troubling I would say we need to keep an eye out for similar actions like this.
I find this very troubling. OIP is supposed to be for the public, a neutral agency. The Gov just wants a puppet in and do what he wants. The Gov. has the authority to appoint a director but no authority to hire staff. Seems mighty coinccidental that Joesting was hired the same week Takase was fired.