FEELING KINDA SEASICK: We admit it- we have a hard time keeping up with the voluminous viewing of council meetings.
First of all, even if we do watch them "gavel to gavel" figuring out what the bleep is going on is often a fool's mission because the actual communications, reports, memos, bills, resolutions and the rest of the accompanying paperwork is still not available on line after years of promises from two different council chairs and even a budgetary appropriation for another staff member dedicated solely to this supposedly daunting task
So again it's time to ask how hard it is to take the packet of hard copies, already sorted and ready for replication and distribution to the public at the counter of Council Services, and scan and post them at the council's web site? Apparently it's beyond the capabilities of anyone who works there, although we suspect that it is, rather, a reluctance to actually let people know any more than they want us to know.
But it's not all due to the speed bumps and blind spots strategically placed on the information highway. We do get overwhelmed on occasion as it was earlier this year when the outside, independent auditors came in for their "report" to the council.
Yes, we missed the audit report. Somehow it quite literally put us to sleep as we remember it. Imagine that.
And so it was that later, last Wednesday well after the miller had told his tale, that we were taken aback when Director of Finance Wall Rezentes Jr.- or "Little Wally" as he is known around county government- took the hot seat to answer some 13 questions the council had for him regarding the findings in the charter-mandated audit.
Apparently, according to Councilmember Mel Rapozo, the audit showed that the "ending balance for vacation and sick leave were not matching the beginning balance for the next year." And, 90% of them were in the Personnel Department of Malcolm Fernandez.
"It's more than an anomaly" said Rapozo, "it's a trend.
"Obviously it's human error... we know that," he told Little Wally and the assembled, saying that there were "too many occurrences for it to be just a mistake.
"I want to make sure there's no evidence of fraud- that nobody's getting extra vacation and sick leave hours," Rapozo said.
But Rezentes couldn't say that was so, only that the amounts had been reconciled and that "Fernandez is taking corrective action." He admitted no one had really checked for wrongdoing or what really happened other than ascertaining, in response to a final question from Rapozo, that "somebody" did reconcile the numbers.
Rapozo seemed to indicate that there were 20 instances of "irreconciled" sick and vacation filings in the Personnel Department alone and let slip that that was "90%" of the total and, apparently there were "one or two" in- drum roll please- the Kaua`i Police Department (KPD).
That was last Wednesday. And, although "we ain't sayin', we're just saying" as they say, yesterday it was reported in the local newspaper that KPD Chief Darryl Perry has placed his two assistant chiefs, Roy Asher and Ale Quibilan, on leave "due to a 'personnel matter.'"
Oh, and of course neither the audit, nor the 13 questions- nor for that matter the written answers to the 13 questions that were apparently provided to the council by Rezentes- is posted on the county's web site.