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Court: Mayor has discipline power over police chief

November 1, 2012
The Associated Press

LIHUE (AP) - A judge ruled that the Kauai County mayor has the power to suspend or discipline the police chief in a dispute going back months.

Randal Valenciano, chief judge of the 5th Circuit Court, ruled Tuesday in a civil lawsuit stemming from when Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. suspended Kauai Chief of Police Darryl D. Perry on Feb. 2 from work for seven days, the Garden Island reported Wednesday.

The Police Commission ordered Perry back to work Feb. 22, but the mayor intervened by refusing to reinstate the police chief while the county investigated an employee complaint.

Perry was back on the job by March 12.

The lawsuit filed by the Police Commission focused on when the suspension occurred and the administrative leave began.

The plaintiffs had wanted the court to rule that the county charter grants the sole authority to suspend or discipline the police chief to the Police Commission.

However, the court found in favor of the mayor. The judge found that the mayor is the chief executive officer of the county and has authority over all departments unless the charter provides language in the alternative.

Police Commission Chair Ernest Kanekoa Jr. said the decision was disappointing. He said it was too soon to comment on whether the commission would appeal.

Under the Kauai County Charter, the commission is charged with hiring or firing police chiefs, investigating complaints, reviewing policies and budgets, administration and personnel matters, and making recommendations to the mayor.

The charter defines the mayor as the chief executive officer for the county, who is responsible for enforcement of the provisions of the charter, ordinances and applicable laws.

"I just want to go back to work and do good things for the people we serve," Carvalho said, after the hearing.



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