Charter Commission Eyes Significant Changes to Maui’s Governance
By Wendy Osher
The Maui County Charter Commission will spend the next two months narrowing down a list of proposed charter amendments, with tentative approval on items to advance, expected before December.
The Charter Commission plans to begin decision-making at its upcoming meeting on Monday (October 10), on what proposed charter amendments should be placed before the public.
The commission will be reviewing proposals relating to elections, fire chief selection, the autonomy of the Water Department, and extending the county’s budget cycle. Specific proposals have been made on the following items:
- the council elective process;
- two versus four-year council terms;
- returning to a closed party primary system;
- council approval of department heads;
- the mayor approving the appointment of the fire chief;
- returning Water Department management to an autonomous body;
- changing the county’s budget process to a two-year cycle;
- changing the rules for initiatives;
- referendums and recalls;
- and creating a position of county auditor.
The commission meets from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, October 10 at the Planning Commission Conference Room in the county complex on High Street in Wailuku.
“Our goal is to reach tentative approval of these issues before December so that we can take these proposals to public hearing countywide and hear the residents’ opinions on these complex and diverse issues,” said Commission Chair Josh Stone.
“Our plan is to work on each of these issues over the next two months, hopefully approving the less complex or divisive first and saving the hardest ones for last,” said Stone.
The 11-member Charter Commission is appointed by the mayor and approved by the Maui County Council. The body reviews the County Charter and makes recommendations for amendments, which are placed before voters in the next election.
The commission also accepts public testimony on subjects related to the County Charter.