The deliberations by the Maui County Council about how to proceed with the investigation of the demolition of the Old Wailuku Post Office were conducted Wednesday almost entirely behind closed doors.
Their actions may have been in accord with the letter of the Sunshine Law, but it certainly violated the spirit of the state statute. Two actions were announced within minutes of going into public session, so the average citizen had no chance to see or hear the deliberations that led to those actions.
The two actions were to:
* Ask county Auditor Lance Taguchi to conduct an audit of administrative departments including the Mayor's Office.
* Remove the Department of the Corporation Counsel from the investigation so that the council can get legal advice from that department.
Now, what about those decisions required the secrecy of an executive session?
Asking for an audit is pretty straightforward. Why did that discussion have to be conducted behind closed doors?
Council members regularly ask representatives of the corporation counsel for legal opinions about their powers in open session. They could have exempted the department with a simple motion and began asking questions. What was it about Wednesday's meeting that made the council decide it needed to meet secretly with counsel about its powers?
By the way, we saw a reference to the executive session being authorized to discuss "strategies and options." We're not sure where anybody on the council thinks that is authorized under the Sunshine Law.
Let the public know what is going on here. The more you hide from the public, the more convinced some folks will become that something nefarious is going on.
Try trusting the citizens with what should be public information.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.