Senate Special Committee on Accountability Releases Report on UH

Honolulu — The Senate Special Committee on Accountability today released its report resulting from the informational briefings that looked into the oversight, accountability, and transparency of the operational and financial management of the University of Hawaii, including but not limited to the University of Hawaii’s athletics program.

Some key points of the report include:

  • The committee finds that for reasons that remain unclear, the University started pre-selling tickets to the Concert even though proper cancellation insurance had not been procured. Nobody at the university seemed to have questioned the decision to go forward with ticket sales even though no insurance was in place.
  • Despite President Greenwood’s claims that the University was the victim of a “sophisticated” scam, the Committee believes that there were many opportunities for the University to take a step back and to stop the Concert prior to wiring the $200,000 deposit. Regardless of the fact that federal authorities have issued an indictment against two defendants in the scam, the Committee believes that proper oversight, due diligence, and communication among University administration and personnel would have presented an adequate number of opportunities to prevent the loss of the $200,000 deposit.
  • No one had been terminated but UH President assured the committee that there would be consequences.

The committee also made recommendations for the University’s administration and Board of Regents.

For more on the committee report:  http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/specialcommittee.aspx?comm=SCA02

“We hope the University will take this committee report into serious consideration and begin the process in becoming more transparent and accountable as they move forward and put this unfortunate event behind them,” said Senator Donna Mercado Kim, chair of the Senate Special Committee on Accountability.   “We would like to see the University move toward its highest potential as the only public, taxpayer supported institution of higher learning in Hawaii.”

“The recommendations will be turned over to the new Senate Committee on Higher Education chair and as a member of the committee I will be able to follow up with the progress during the legislative session,” Kim added.

The Senate Special Committee on Accountability held two hearings, on September 24, 2012, and October 2, 2012, in response to public concern over issues regarding the University of Hawaii in the wake of the failed Stevie Wonder concert fundraiser.

Senate Special Committee on Accountability to Discuss Findings from Informational Briefings on UH

Honolulu –  The Senate Special Committee on Accountability will be holding an informational briefing to discuss its findings and recommendations resulting from the informational briefings that looked into the oversight, accountability, and transparency of the operational and financial management of the University of Hawaii, including but not limited to the University of Hawaii’s athletics program.  The briefing will be held on Monday, November 19, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. in conference room 221 at the State Capitol.

“We will be discussing the committee report which outlines our findings and recommendations after hearing more than thirteen hours of testimony from University officials, UH Board of Regents, Jim Donovan, attorneys and all others who came before the committee,” said Senator Donna Mercado Kim, chair of the Senate Special Committee on Accountability.  “We hope the University will take the recommendations that we will make into serious consideration in order to move forward in restoring the public’s trust and support.”

The Senate Special Committee on Accountability held two hearings, on September 24, 2012, and October 2, 2012, in response to public concern over issues regarding the University of Hawaii in the wake of the failed Stevie Wonder concert fundraiser.

No public testimony will be accepted at the informational briefing.

If you require special assistance or auxiliary aids or services to participate in the informational briefing (i.e., sign language interpreter or wheelchair accessibility), please contact the Committee Clerk at 587-7200 to make a request for arrangements at least 24 hours prior to the briefing.  Prompt requests help to ensure the availability of qualified individuals and appropriate accommodations.

Senate Committee Looks into UH Oversight, Accountability and Transparency

The following video clips were segmented from the video transcripts of the September 24, 2012 and October 2, 2012 Senate Special Committee on Accountability informational briefings. These videos were shared by Senator Donna Mercado Kim, chair of the Senate Special Committee on Accountability.

During the briefings, the Committee reviewed the oversight, accountability, and transparency of the operational and fiscal management of the University of Hawaii (UH) System, including but not limited to UH’s Athletics Department.  The committee was convened in response to the public’s concern over issues that recently surfaced at UH.

Contracts with law firms retained by the UH for the investigation into the failed Stevie Wonder concert, the timeline of events that led to the failed concert, events leading to the removal of Jim Donovan from his post as UH Athletics Director, public relations staff and contracts, the creation of a director of external affairs and community relations position under the UH Manoa Chancellor’s Office, as well as the UH Board of Regents’ policies were among issues discussed.

 

Following the Money Trail

This video focuses on the money trail for the funds transferred by the UH to a third party account in Florida. Click here to view the video entitled, Following the Money Trail: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjbbOGj-PEA.

New “No Name” Position Created

This video takes a look at the removal of Jim Donovan from his post as UH Athletics Director and his reassignment to a newly created position in the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Office of the Chancellor. Click here to view the video entitled, New “No Name” Position Created: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYwpuqlcCJw.

What is this Costing Taxpayers?

This video shows the investigation into the running cost incurred by UH relating to the failed concert and other relevant costs. Click here to view the video entitled, What is this Costing Taxpayers?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pnYWPEZmZU.

 

M.R.C. Greenwood, UH President; Tom Apple, UH Chancellor; Jim Donovan, former UH Athletics Director; Rich Sheriff, Stan Sheriff Center Manager; Dennis Chong Kee, Cades Schutte LLP, “fact finders” into the failed concert to raise money for UH Manoa Athletics Department; Robert Katz and Jeffrey Harris, Torkildson, Katz, Moore, Hetherington & Harris; Eric Martinson, UH of Regents Chair; James Lee and Carl Carlson, UH Board of Regents Vice Chairs and Coralie Matayoshi, UH Board of Regent, testified before the Committee.

These videos have been edited from their original versions.  To view the original versions in their entirety, please visit  http://olelo.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=13.

Briefing Addresses Oversight, Accountability, and Transparency at the UH System

Honolulu — The Senate Special Committee on Accountability continued its informational briefing today on the oversight, accountability, and transparency of the operational and financial management of the University of Hawaii System, including but not limited to the University of Hawaii’s Athletics Department. Today’s briefing was the second in a series of meetings. A previous meeting was held on September 24.

Attorney Jeffrey Harris (Torkildson, Katz, Moore, Hetherington, Harris), University of Hawaii Chancellor Tom Apple, Stan Sheriff Center Manager Rich Sheriff, former University of Hawaii Athletics Director Jim Donovan, University of Hawaii Board of Regents Vice Chairs James Lee and Carl Carlson and University of Hawaii Board of Regent Coralie Matayoshi testified before the committee.

The timeline leading to the failed Stevie Wonder concert, contracts with various law firms hired by the University of Hawaii, public relations staff and contracts, the creation of a director of external affairs and community relations position under the UH Manoa Chancellor’s office, as well as the University of Hawaii Board of Regents’ policies were among the issues discussed.

Through these briefings, I’m glad that we were able to shed some light on many concerns with UH, but there are still many unanswered questions. I am hopeful that these hearings will result in more transparency and accountability from the University. I am optimistic that if positive changes occur quickly, they will begin to regain the public’s confidence and trust,” said Senator Donna Mercado Kim, chair of the Senate Special Committee on Accountability.

Briefing Addresses Oversight, Accountability, and Transparency at the UH System

Honolulu – The University of Hawaii’s failed Stevie Wonder concert fundraiser was the focus of today’s Senate Special Committee on Accountability informational briefing.  The committee was convened in response to the public’s concern over issues that recently surfaced at the University of Hawaii.  Today’s briefing is the first in a series of meetings looking into the oversight, accountability, and transparency of the operational and financial management of the University of Hawaii System, including but not limited to the University of Hawaii’s Athletics Department. 

M.R.C. Greenwood, University of Hawaii president; Jim Donovan, former University of Hawaii athletics director, Dennis Chong Kee of Cades Schutte law firm, “fact finders” into the failed concert to raise money for UH Manoa Athletics department, and Eric Martinson, chair of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents, were among those who testified before the committee.

Contracts with law firms retained by the University of Hawaii for the investigation into the failed Stevie Wonder concert, the timeline of events that led to the failed concert as well as events leading to the removal of Jim Donovan from his post as University of Hawaii Athletics Director were among issues discussed.

“I am pleased that those who were asked to come before the committee came to the briefing to answer our questions,” said Senator Donna Mercado Kim, chair of the Special Committee on Accountability.   “Although we appreciate their attendance, it was frustrating to hear that many policy and procedures that are in place were not followed.”

“I hope the public got some of their questions and concerns addressed through the briefing.  Moving forward, we hope the University will work to restore the public’s trust and confidence,” she added. 

The committee received written testimony from University of Hawaii faculty members, University of Hawaii students, and the public, many of which expressed support for the informational briefing in order to shed light on the issue.

The next informational briefing is tentatively set for October 2, 2012.

The redacted fact finder report with attachments and briefing materials from today’s informational briefing can be found on the Senate Special Committee on Accountability’s website: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/specialcommittee.aspx?comm=SCA02.

Accountability Briefing on UH System to be Broadcast Live on Olelo

Honolulu–  The Senate Special Committee on Accountability’s initial informational briefing to review the oversight, accountability, and transparency of the operational and financial management of the University of Hawaii System will be broadcast live on Olelo channel 49 on Oahu, Monday, September 24 at 1 p.m.  The briefing will be held in the State Capitol’s conference room 211.

Neighbor Island viewers may consult the resources listed below for broadcast and rebroadcast information.

  • Kauai: Ho’ike Community Television (http://www.hoike.org), phone (808) 246-1556 (no web-streaming)
  • Maui: Akaku: Maui Community Television ( www.akaku.org), phone (808) 871-5554 (web-streaming available).
  • Big Island: Na Leo O Hawaii (www.naleo.tv), phone (808) 935-8874 (Hilo) or (808) 329-9617 (Kailua-Kona) (web-streaming available).

The briefing can also be watched on a live webstream at:

http://olelo.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=13

The committee scheduled the briefing to address the public’s concern over recent issues regarding the management and finances of the University, including but not limited to the University of Hawaii’s Athletics Department.

Eric Martinson, chair of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents; M.R.C. Greenwood, University of Hawaii president; Jim Donovan, former University of Hawaii athletics director and representatives from Cades Schutte law firm, “fact finders” into the failed concert to raise money for UH Manoa Athletics department, are expected to go before the committee.

For more information:  http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2012/hearingnotices/HEARING_SCA02_09-24-12_INFO_.HTM

Briefing to Address Oversight, Accountability, and Transparency at the UH System to be Held

Honolulu –  In response to the public’s concern over recent issues that have surfaced at the University of Hawaii, the Senate Special Committee on Accountability will hold the initial informational briefing on Monday, September 24 at 1 p.m. in the State Capitol’s room 211.  The committee will review the oversight, accountability, and transparency of the operational and financial management of the University of Hawaii System, including but not limited to the University of Hawaii’s Athletics Department.

Eric Martinson, chair of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents; M.R.C. Greenwood, University of Hawaii president; Jim Donovan, former University of Hawaii athletics director and representatives from Cades Schutte law firm, “fact finders” into the failed concert to raise money for UH Manoa Athletics department, are expected to go before the committee.

The Committee on Accountability looks forward to following up with the Board of Regents as to their role in the overall operations of the University of Hawaii System,” said Senator Donna Mercado Kim, chair of the Special Committee on Accountability.   “We also look forward to hearing how the University arrived in the situation it is in today.”

Yesterday, the University of Hawaii announced that its Board of Regents approved the formation of a special committee, The Operational and Financial Controls Improvement Advisory Task Group.  The Task Group will oversee the evaluation of the University’s operational and financial controls and oversight practices and provide appropriate advice for improvement.

While we appreciate the Board of Regents’ efforts in finally exercising its oversight responsibilities to address system-wide concerns affecting the management and finances of the University, we will be addressing accountability and transparency issues during the briefing, which does not seem to be scope of the Task Group,” added Kim.  “We trust the University and the Board of Regents will cooperate with the Committee to restore the public’s trust and confidence in the State’s only public institution of higher learning.”

Only written testimony will be accepted.

In Person: Deliver to Committee Clerk in room 210, State Capitol.

E-Mail: Submit testimony to SCATestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov. (10MB limit)

Fax: 808-587-7205, or fax to 1-800-586-6659 (toll free for outside Oahu); 5 page limit

For special assistance or auxiliary aids and/or services to participate in the informational briefing please contact the Committee Clerk at (808) 587-7200.

 

Hearing on Salary and Wage Overpayments on State Employees to be Held

HONOLULU –  In reaction to a recent investigation revealing that the State overpaid its employees more than $2 million, the Senate Special Committee on Accountability will be holding a hearing on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 1:15 p.m., in the State Capitol’s room 224.

During the hearing, the Committee will consider Senate Resolution 20 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 37.  The measures request the State Auditor to conduct a financial and management audit of State agencies to assess the scope of salary overpayments to public employees.

I intend to examine payroll and sick-leave procedures, as well as current statutes that deal with recovering overpayments.  While it’s troubling that these payments were made to begin with, I’m also concerned by the State’s inability to recover them,” said Senator Donna Mercado Kim, chair of the Senate Special Committee on Accountability.  “After testimony is heard, I am confident that the committee will have a clearer understanding as to the severity of the problem and what course of action should be recommended to my fellow Senators.”

The resolutions detail several problems in the system that have caused the overpayments, such as failure to report terminated employment in a timely manner, failure to report reduction of hours and failure to report leave without pay.

For more information on the resolutions, go to http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

Hearing Addressing Excessive Overtime to be Held

 HONOLULU –  The Senate Special Committee on Accountability will be taking a closer look at excessive overtime by public employees at a hearing on Thursday, March 8 at 1:15 p.m., at the State Capitol’s conference room 224.

In recent years, the economic downturn has necessitated downsizing throughout government.  While staff shortages contribute to rising overtime hours, it’s no secret that the opportunity to abuse overtime exists to the detriment of hard earned pensions,” said Senator Donna Mercado Kim, chair of the Senate Special Committee on Accountability.

As chair of the Senate Special Committee on Accountability, one of my primary responsibilities is to identify waste and mismanagement in state operations.  With our economy on the cusp of recovery, it is perhaps more important than ever for our government to increase scrutiny over inefficiencies and policies that impact our fiscal future.”

During the hearing, Senators will consider Senate Resolution 21 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 34, which request the State Auditor to conduct an audit of State departments with high rates of additional compensation paid to public employees.

The resolutions describe two cases of excessive overtime.  Recent payroll data from the agency that operates ambulances in the City and County of Honolulu revealed that its highest-paid employees worked extensive amounts of overtime, more than doubling their annual base salary. Meanwhile, the Department of Public Safety recently reported that its prison employees worked more than one-thousand hours of overtime in fiscal year 2009.  These examples of excessive overtime are contributing to a severe funding shortfall in Hawaii’s retirement system for county and state workers.

 Faced with growing Employees’ Retirement System unfunded liability, the committee will consider whether there is a need for an in-depth audit of additional compensation paid to state employees,” Kim added.

For more information on the Resolutions, go to http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/.

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