HILO, Hawaii – On July 7, the Hawaii County Band marched right into the Hilo council chamber and let the elected officials know they made a mistake.
Band members and prominent supporters told the Hawaii County Council that a proposed charter amendment that was about to go on the ballot would put the musicians in a vulnerable position. All reference to the band was stricken from the charter.
Former Parks and Rec director Pat Engelhard said the issue was only realized in the 11th hour.
Regretting the error, councilmembers backpedaled and bickered over the amendment that was initially considered a simple housekeeping measure.
For the band, it was shades of 2009 when projected budget shortfalls put them on the chopping block.
Councilmembers voted to postpone putting the objectionable question on the ballot. After the meeting, over social media, Councilmember Greggor Ilagan announced he and his staff quickly worked to introduce legislation that – if passed by the council on first reading July 19th – will fix the error and keep the Hawaii County Band in the charter.