BREAKING: Mayor Apologizes for “Mistake” Involving Old Wailuku Post Office
[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ofRwCb3HJ8 /] By Wendy Osher
Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa issued a statement this morning, effectively apologizing for what he called a “mistake” involving miscommunication with the Old Wailuku Post Office demolition project.
The statement comes on the heels of a Budget and Finance Committee vote last week, recommending a formal investigation into the potential misuse of county funds.
“…we made a mistake and I apologize for it,” said the mayor in a press conference this morning.
“When our discussions with the council changed the intent of the project, we should have followed up with the paperwork to reflect those changes,” said Mayor Arakawa.
“As the mayor I take full responsibility for this situation,” he said. He continued, saying the administration was so intent on meeting with council members personally and getting individual approval, “that we forgot some of the more formal aspects of the process.”
The mayor vowed that steps are being taken to assure that the mistake is not repeated.
“I have already instructed my staff that all future communication between the administration and the council must be documented. Although we look forward to our one-on-one discussions with council members, we realize that we cannot rely solely upon informal meetings. The record leading up to each decision must be clear and concise in order to minimize misunderstandings,” said Arakawa.
In his statement, the mayor said he would be asking the council and the community for help to move forward with the Kalana O Maui Campus Expansion project. “The facts are simple,” he said. “We are paying $150,000 a month in Wailuku office rent for our various departments and every month we delay this project is another month in rent payments we have to make.”
The mayor noted that the administration already submitted one budget amendment to help rectify the situation. Today, he said, two additional budget amendments are being submitted, “to clarify the issue.”
“The first will clarify the source of funding for the building demolition. The second will cover the costs of the master planning work for the Kalana O Maui expansion and the design of Phase IA of the master plan,” said Arakawa.
In closing, the mayor expressed appreciation for the support shown by Chair Gladys Baisa, Vice Chair Bob Carroll, as well as council members Don Couch and Michael Victorino.
“To the rest of the council,” he said, “we are prepared to answer any questions you may have and we hope that you will help us get this project back on track as well.”
“Again,” he said, “I am sorry for the wasted time that this miscommunication has cost all of us. To the public I ask for your patience and to the council I ask for your understanding. If at all possible, let us now move ahead for the good of the community.”