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Tuesday, March 26, 2024
HGEA Plants Convicted Felon on HLRB
By Selected News Articles @ 4:51 AM :: 2043 Views :: Ethics, Labor


Senate LBT, GM529, March 25, 2024 

(UPDATE: LBT unanimously approved Moniz' renomination as unions' representative on HLRB.  He next goes before the full Senate.)

I am writing to express my grave concerns and strong opposition to the nomination of Stacy Moniz for the Hawaii Labor Relations Board (HLRB). This letter not only serves as a plea but as a critical analysis of the implications surrounding this nomination, which was made possible by recent legislative decisions, including HB161 of 2023 (Act 260). The law's intent, despite being to fair the nomination process, paradoxically enables the nomination of individuals potentially unfit for this critical role—specifically, Mr. Moniz, a disbarred attorney with a felony conviction.

This scenario underpins my unease: the HLRB demands unimpeachable integrity, given its role in interpreting labor laws and shaping the labor landscape of Hawaii. Furthermore, Mr. Moniz's history of unauthorized practice of law deeply troubles me. The Hawaii Supreme Court, in Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Lau, unequivocally outlined the dangers of such misconduct, noting that it "harms the legal system, the profession, and the public" while fostering "a perception of privilege and arrogance."

Allowing Mr. Moniz to serve on the HLRB, where he would effectively interpret and enforce labor laws, could be viewed as an extension of this unauthorized practice—this time, under the state's endorsement. The Supreme Court’s position is that even if an agency allows for non-licensed people to represent others, it is not appropriate for a disbarred lawyer to do so.

Additionally, Mr. Moniz's longstanding employment with the HGEA introduces undeniable due process concerns. His role on the HLRB, where he would adjudicate cases involving his former employer, starkly conflicts with the principles of fairness and impartiality. It's hard not to see this as a direct threat to the constitutional rights of those appearing before the board.

I am also compelled to address the broader legislative context. Your vote to pass HB161 of 2023, except for Senator Ihara, removing critical checks from the nomination process, was prescient. This act has directly facilitated the current situation, undermining the governor's vetting role and placing undue power in the hands of unions. While unions play an essential role in our democracy, this imbalance could lead to nominations based more on political favoritism than on qualifications and integrity.

In light of these factors—the potential for unauthorized practice of law, due process violations, and the questionable circumstances surrounding his nomination—I strongly urge you to oppose Mr. Moniz's confirmation. Our state deserves HLRB members who are not only legally qualified but also free from conflicts of interest and capable of upholding the highest ethical standards. Thank you for your time and consideration. I trust that you will approach this matter with the seriousness it warrants, reflecting on the long-term impacts on our state's labor force and legal integrity.

With respect and Aloha,

Sarah Hsiao

Honolulu, Oahu

GM529: Text, Status

PDF: Testimony with supporting links


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