Advisory Opinion No. 2015-1
From Honolulu Ethics Commission March 18, 2015
The Honolulu Ethics Commission (“Commission” or “EC”) found that the Mayor may use city resources to support the “Keep Hawaii’s Heroes” project because supporting such a program is within the implicit or explicit scope of the Mayor’s duties. The Mayor has broad authority in regard to the submitting and justifying the city’s budget to the City Council. The Mayor also has broad authority to inform the public as to city policies and programs. The issue of military downsizing in Honolulu creates a significant impact on Honolulu’s economy which will affect the city’s budget and ability to provide services. As such, the Mayor has the inherent authority to address this issue and implement a policy regarding this issue including asking for public support for the Project.
Further, the Commission has long-held that there is an exemption to Revised Charter of Honolulu Sec. 11-1041 for helping non-profit organizations with projects that the Mayor has officially designated as a project with community –wide benefit such as Aloha United Way and Foodbank. The “Keep Hawaii’s Heroes” project likely falls within this exemption as the co-sponsor of the project is the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce, a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization and the project would affect a broad segment of the community.
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SA: Ethics Commission: Mayor can use city resources for 'Keep Hawaii's Heroes'