We believe it is at committee level where plans are formulated, laws proposed and modified and decisions are made.
UPDATE: 1/23/19. After nearly 80 public testifiers beginning at 9:00 AM, concluding nearly 6:00 PM, this first Council committee meeting of the year finally was halted with a recess by chair Molina until 3:00 PM next Wednesday, Jan. 30. Before then the GET committee confirmed two of the proposed seven directors. Karla Peters for Parks and Rec, and Marc Takamori for the DOT. Look for professional report in the Maui News and on MauiNow
A new year; a new council; and with a momentous first, since the establishment of Maui county in 1905, a super-majority of the council are wahine (female). Of course there was no Council then- that came later .There are all new committees, too.
These committees are an important part of the Maui county governance system. Unfortunately, too often the public becomes aware of a topic as it goes before the full Council for last and final vote (out of the required three) to pass a law. The public is unaware of the process of how the legislators got to the point of passing a law. All of this crafting for laws and proposals occurs within the eight standing committees, each chaired by one councilor. Some committees include all nine council members while others just have seven.
As we understand it, the prior committee structure was created to match or mesh with county administrative departments. This year they were created to support the Maui County General Plan based on its objectives.
The objectives are:
A. Protect the Natural Environment
B. Preserve Local Cultures and Traditions
C. Improve Education
D. Strengthen Social and Healthcare Services
E. Expand Housing Opportunities for Residents
F. Strengthen the Local Economy
G. Improve Parks and Public Facilities
H. Diversify Transportation Options
I. Improve Physical Infrastructure
J. Promote Sustainable Land Use and Growth Management
K. Strive for Good Governance.
Thus, the 2019 standing committees, with their respective chairs noted, are as follows:
- Environmental, Agricultural and Cultural Preservation, Shane Sinenci
- Healthy Families and Communities, Riki Hokama
- Affordable Housing, Tasha Kama
- Economic Development and Budget, Keani Rollins Fernandez
- Water and Infrastructure, Alice Lee
- Multimodal Transportation, Yuki Lei Sugimura
- Planning and Sustainable Land Use, Tamara Paltin
- Governance, Ethics and Transparency, Mike Molina
The nine-member committee Government, Ethics and Transparency has its first meeting on January 23rd, 9:00 AM. A matter on their agenda is another first for Maui County.
This year the Council has the right to approve (or not) the “major leadership” appointments made by the new Mayor, Mike Victorino.
So, residents concerned with this matter should testify at this meeting. Sure, a committee can only make recommendations to the full Council, but as this particular committee has all of the nine council members, they will mostly likely agree with their own recommendations. That is not new.