Did you catch the Hawaii News Now report last night on the indictment of a former city roads supervisor for felony theft? The supervisor allegedly would regularly report for work but then return home, resulting in taking pay for hours not worked (“Former supervisor with the city indicted on felony charge“).
This criminal case follows a City Ethics Commission investigation that resulted in the supervisor, Patrick Costa, losing his job.
“Give credit to a city employee who blew the whistle,” says Chuck Totto, Executive Director of the City Ethics Commission.
“We would have never known about it (without that person),” says Totto.
After the investigation was launched, witnesses reported that Costa had been doing this for years.
Wait a minute. Didn’t Costa have a boss? Who was it? Who did that boss report to? Are we supposed to believe that his absence was never noted by a supervisor or anyone else in authority? If it wasn’t, then the much bigger question is why the supervisor didn’t know, and the same question has to be asked up the chain of authority in the city. Or perhaps Costa and others had some form of political clout that they used to their benefit? This is all background the public would benefit from knowing.
In a story last year, Keoki Kerr reported:
City employees said a culture of corruption has been allowed to flourish in this division for years, with favoritism and nepotism to blame for some of the problems.
Since one-third of the jobs in the department are vacant, employees said there’s plenty of overtime that’s sometimes doled out unfairly or unethically.
Managers in the city’s road division are either ignoring the problems are too clueless and inept to do step in and do anything about them, employees said.
So this is apparently one of the things the Honolulu Ethics Commission has been investigating. Wouldn’t you think the city would want to beef up the commission’s investigative capacity in light of the problems being uncovered? Or is this larger “culture of corruption” part of the reason the Caldwell administration has been trying to rein in the commission’s powers? Just asking…
Keoki Kerr has been reporting on problems at the the same city facility for a couple of years. It makes for rich and disturbing reading.