(BIVN) – The Hawaii County Council Finance Committee on Tuesday debated a new bill that would force government officials to be “truthful”, under the ethics code.
Bill 160, introduced by Puna councilwoman Eileen O’Hara, would amend the county code of ethics to include a new mandate for officers and employees of the County, while discharging their duties and dealing with the public, to be truthful.
The bill also added a definition for truthful: “stating, telling, or expressing accurate and correct facts.”
Puna resident Rib Tucker testified in support of the measure, after bad experience in 2016 with the Department of Public Works over the new building code as it relates to small, unpermitted utility structures on agricultural land, which Tucker’s business had been offering to the market. Tucker said the new code allows for the structures, the county says that may not be the case and takes issue with Tucker’s advertising the products as such.
Councilmembers, who saw some others areas where government could be more truthful, balked at the bill, fearing that it would open the door to a multitude of ethics complaints. But they indicated that with some retooling of the bill, they might support it. O’Hara postponed the bill to the call of the chair in order to bring forward some amendments.