Monday, November 9, 2009


BIG DOG ASPIRATIONS: In this week’s “Kaua`i People”- the mid-week advertising newspaper that pops up in your mailbox every Wednesday- our friend Joan Conrow’s profile of Councilperson Jay Furfaro begins by saying “Jay Furfaro is a man with many roles, but steward is the one he considers most important”.

But many who know and have dealt with Furfaro or watched his machinations at televised council meetings, see that quality which Furfaro calls “stewardship” expressed in it’s basest form through a kind of pompous, paternalistic, know-it-all persona noted for his penchant for essentially telling questioning members of the public “I’ve looked into it and it’s all ok so don’t worry your pretty little head about it”.

Now it came as no surprise that, at last Wednesday’s council meeting, the council approved without comment the write-off of a $6,044.98 delinquent “tipping fee” debt- one on which we reported on that same day exposing the blunder that led to the need to forgo the “bad debt”

We didn’t expect the council to use the television cameras to explain that, after eight years of lapsed payment plans, the debt was now uncollectible due to a legal screw-up by former Deputy County Attorney Jim Tagupa who, after the county sued and the judge ordered the amount be paid or the debtor’s property be attached, inexplicably filed a “Satisfaction of Judgment” despite the fact that the money was never paid.

(To follow up, current County Attorney Al Castillo still has not returned our Wednesday phone call asking for an explanation and/or comment.)

But what occurred during a recess after the matter had been swept under the rug was exactly what we’d expect from Furfaro, whom Conrow’s article intimates is considering a run for the to-be-vacant state senate seat in 2010.

Seems the “nitpickers”- the group of council regulars who now wear as a badge the name they got from former Mayor Maryanne Kusaka for criticizing the inflated purchase price of Kaua`i Electric by the current co-op- was discussing the write-off wondering what the deal was and why we were taking the loss.

That’s when the self appointed nitpickers were overheard by Furfaro, the self appointed all-purpose explainer. Unsolicited, he sauntered up to them and, according to nitpickers Glenn Mickens and Rob Abrew told them that it was simply “an accounting problem” and that the council was actually insuring that the matter “can now go to collection”

Abrew said “he told us this is the way the accountants do it- this way we can write it off our books and it can go to collection”.

Mickens independently corroborated Abrew’s account- without having heard it or discussed it with him or us- saying in an email saying that Furfaro “said it is simply some type of accounting problem and that when the issue goes in the proper table it means that the account is still collectible”.

We admit to being a bit sneaky here in publishing the real story during the council meeting rather than before or after as an experiment to see whether the council- who was presumably just as informed as we were since the information came from the council’s packet of background documents they receive with the agenda six days before each meeting- would be honest and level with the people on their own, without media prodding.

And as we said we fully expected that no one would say a word in session when the matter was silently approved. But Furfaro’s seems so fixated on his “stewardship” role- even to the point of either making stuff up or talking about it without doing his homework- that he can’t resist an opportunity to either cover for administration incompetence even it means “open mouth-insert foot”.

And he wants to be our state senator- or if not move up to council chair when Kaipo Asing retires next year as he has publicly stated he will.

It makes us once again quote Manager Casey Stengle of the still-a-record 120-game-losing 1962 NY Mets who asked “can’t anyone here play this game?”.

1 comment:

pinkerton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.