Thursday, February 2, 2012


WELL I WONDER, WONDER, WONDER, WONDER WHO: The "fact" that Kaua`i Police Department (KPD) Chief Darryl Perry "is on leave" seems to be the only thing that is clear after chapter two of the latest departmental saga hit the streets.

Chapter one was the leave that was apparently forced on two assistant chiefs by Perry on Tuesday. But as to how Perry wound up on leave there seems to be about as much confusion in the press as there is silence on the part of the administration of Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.

The first report of Perry's "situation" came from a county press release last night and simply said:

As of this morning, Police Chief Darryl Perry is on leave and Deputy Police Chief Michael Contrades will serve as Acting Police Chief until further notice.

The local Kaua`i newspaper claims to have reached Perry who told them that indeed it was hizzonah who did the deed saying:

While the county offered no explanation in terse statements that were released Tuesday and Wednesday, Perry said late Wednesday that“the truth will come out,” and that the actions were brought about by the mayor’s office.

The pay-walled Honolulu Star Advertiser, while detailing some of the ways past chiefs have departed on less than friendly terms with the county apparently reached county KPD spokesperson Sarah Blane who told them "she was not told who placed Perry on leave."

Although the county claims it cannot say anything because it is a "personnel matter" the sunshine law says that, if appropriate in the specific case, the public's interest in the information can trump privacy concerns. That, however, would be a matter for the toothless Office of Information Practices (OIP) to determine and, even if they had fangs, they seem to work at glacial speeds.

So who dunnit?

Well if it was the mayor all we can say is "here we go again."

According to Section 11-4 of the Kaua`i County Charter

The chief of police shall be appointed by the police commission. He may be removed by the police commission only after being given a written statement of the charges against him and a hearing before the commission.

And while the power to place the chief on leave is not directly addressed, Police Commissions statewide are, according to state law, supposed to be autonomous in their dealings with the police chiefs.

But while it's not within Carvalho's powers to remove- or even place on leave- the chief, it's not for lack of wishing on his part. He has been engaged in a campaign to have the state law changed so that the chiefs of the police departments across the state would be hired and fired by the mayors, making the police commissions little more than advisory boards.

It may be of note that both Perry and the commission have gone on the record opposing Carvalho's would-be new law.

A perusal of the police commission's most recent agenda produces no recent "emergency" meeting where any executive session placing Perry on leave might have taken place and to do so would have violated the state sunshine law anyway which requires six days notice before a meeting can be held.

However this morning at 8:15 an agenda for a meeting scheduled for next Tuesday February 7- the first day one could be legally held- calls for no less than three "executive sessions."

The first, ES 5 reads in part

Pursuant to Hawai`i Revised Statutes, §92-4, 92-5(a) (2) and (4), the purpose of this Executive Session is for Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. to provide the Commission with a briefing regarding personnel and/or disciplinary actions related to notarized complaint filed with the Police Commission on 01/31/12, and for the Commission to further consider and discuss said personnel and/or disciplinary actions.

While it's not clear what "disciplinary action" Carvalho has taken it seems pretty clear it refers to placing Perry on leave because the next item, ES 6 reads

Pursuant to Hawai`i Revised Statutes, §92-4 and 92-5 (a) (4), the purpose of this Executive Session is for the Commission to consult with its attorney as to its powers, duties, privileges, immunities and liabilities as they relate to Section 11.04 of the County of Kaua'i Charter

Charter section 11-4 of course is the one cited above about the hiring and firing of the chief being the sole kuleana of the police commission.

The third item on the 2/7 agenda reads:

Pursuant to Hawai`i Revised Statutes, §92-4 and 92-5 (a) (4), the purpose of this Executive Session is for the Commission to consult with its attorney as to its powers, duties, privileges, immunities, and liabilities as they relate to Rule 6-1.f of the Rules of the Kaua'i County Police Commission.

But if you thought that would clarify what was going on you'll be sorely disappointed because Rule 6 is entitled "Control, Management And Direction Of The Department" and 6-1 is an incredibly long and list of the "Powers, Duties and Responsibilities of the Police Commission."

Although 6-1-3 does deal with "Investigation of Charge (sic)" it does not directly address what happens if the target of the investigation is the chief.

So what does it matter who put Perry on leave?

Well if past is prologue the county might just be in for another big settlement should Perry decide to sue for denying his rights under the charter.

To make a long story short, back when George Freitas was the chief and Maryanne Kusaka was the mayor- this during the time when Kusaka was allegedly covering up for her buddies with grubbing and grading violations by allegedly telling a Department of Public Works engineer to butt out when it came to Jimmy Pflueger and the Ka Loko Dam area that later burst during a storm killing seven people- Kusaka "removed" Freitas from his office.

She apparently got the long time secretary for Freitas and past chiefs to take his gun and badge from his desk and give it to her. There was a long list of serious charges made but when it was all over the only one the police commission upheld was that Freitas had given a ride to his girlfriend in his police car.

And in the end Freitas settled for a reported half-million dollar golden parachute and "retiring" from the force.

Hard to say what will happen tomorrow- or next Tuesday for that matter because the usual open session for decision making after executive sessions on complaint against KPD personnel is decidedly missing from the 2/7 agenda.

But one thing is clear- in his notorious quest for power Carvalho is certainly putting the county in jeopardy by usurping the commission's oversight.

No comments: