Hawaii is no standout when it comes to State Civil Service Management, according to the State Integrity Investigation.

Hawaii received an overall D, or 66 percent, grade for State Civil Service Management. That placed the state 26th. At the top was New Jersey. At the bottom was Georgia.

Hawaii fared even worse when it came to regulations governing at least the managerial and professional staff of government, with a 50 percent score.

This was largely because Hawaii doesn’t have regulations to prevent nepotism, cronyism or patronage and because officials convicted of corruption can return to government jobs.

Overall, the State Integrity Investigation ranked Hawaii 10th after Civil Beat reporters researched 330 “Corruption Risk Indicators” across 14 categories of government. (Click here to learn more about the methodology used for the project.)

Hawaii’s second worst score when it came to the seven questions that made up the Civil Service Management grade was for regulations governing state officials.

Bottom line: Hawaii gets knocked because it doesn’t have anti-nepotism, cronyism or patronage regulations and because officials convicted of corruption are not prohibited from being rehired in government.

Here’s the basis for the 50-percent grade that contributed to the overall 66 percent score for State Civil Service Management. It’s your turn to evaluate whether Civil Beat got it right and to share what you think should be done to improve the situation. Share your comments at the bottom of this story.

Here’s the first question the State Integrity Investigation asked regarding State Civil Service Management.

Are there regulations for the state civil service encompassing, at least, the managerial and professional staff?

Overall score: 50%

Here are the criteria Civil Beat used to answer that question and what Civil Beat found.

1. In law, there are regulations requiring an impartial, independent, and fairly managed state civil service.

Notes: State law specifies that state civil services are impartial and independent from political influence. See below.

§76-1 Purposes; merit principle: “It is also the purpose of this chapter to build a career service in government, free from coercive political influences, to render impartial service to the public at all times, according to the dictates of ethics and morality and in compliance with all laws.”

Sources: Hawaii Revised Statutes, Title VII Public Officers and Employees, Chapter 76 Civil Service Law, Part I. General Civil Service Provisions, §76-1 Purposes; merit principle. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0076/HRS_0076-0001.htm for details.

Score: 100%

Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Yes: A YES score is earned if there are specific formal rules establishing that the state civil service carry out its duties independent of political interference.
No: A NO score is earned if there are no formal rules establishing an independent state civil service.

2. In law, there are regulations to prevent nepotism (favorable treatment of family members), cronyism (favorable treatment of friends and colleagues), or patronage (favorable treatment of those who reward their superiors) within the civil service.

Notes: The state law specifies equal opportunity for all under the civil service provision. It does not specifically use the terms “nepotism,” “cronyism” and “patronage,” but the equal opportunity principle may apply. See below.

§76-1 Purposes; merit principle: “(1) Equal opportunity for all in compliance with all laws prohibiting discrimination. No person shall be discriminated against in examination, appointment, reinstatement, reemployment, promotion, transfer, demotion, or removal, with respect to any position when the work may be efficiently performed by the person without hazard or danger to the health and safety of the person or others;”

In addition, state law prohibits public employers from discriminating in hiring.

Hawaii Revised Statutes, Title VII Public Officers and Employees, Chapter 76 Civil Service Law, Part I. General Civil Service Provisions, §76-1 Purposes; merit principle. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0076/HRS_0076-0001.htm for details.

Also see §89-13 Prohibited practices; evidence of bad faith. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0089/HRS_0089-0013.htm for details.

Sources: No such law exists.

Score: 0%

Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Yes: A YES score is earned if there are specific formal rules prohibiting nepotism, cronyism, and patronage in the civil service. These should include competitive recruitment and promotion procedures as well as safeguards against arbitrary disciplinary actions and dismissal.
No: A NO score is earned if no such regulations exist.

3. In law, there is an independent redress mechanism for the civil service.

Notes: There are two types of civil servants. Those who fall under collective bargaining agreements and those who do not.

Those under collective bargaining agreements go to their respective unions to resolve grievances and complaints. However, if the union does not take care of the issue through the contract grievances procedure, then employees may go to the Hawaii Labor Relations Board, which hears and decides complaints from state employees and employers, the Department of Education, the University of Hawaii system, the judiciary and the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.

Those excluded from collective bargaining agreements may resolve disputes internally by first filing a complaint in their respective departments. The Merit Appeals Board then hears and decides appeals regarding civil service employees excluded from collective bargaining agreements. As the board weighs the merits of the case, it considers previous employment actions against the person who filed the complaint, such as demotions, suspensions and discharges. In addition, state law provides the state’s ombudsman office the power to independently investigate complaints against state and county agencies. However, the office does not cover state employees under collective bargaining agreements.

Sources:

Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 89 Collective Bargaining in Public Employment, §89-5 Hawaii labor relations board. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0089/HRS_0089-0005.htm for details.

Also see §89-10.8 Resolution of disputes; grievances. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0089/HRS_0089-0010_0008.htm for details.

Also see Chapter 76 Civil Service Law, Part 1. General Civil Service Provisions, §76-42 Internal complaint procedures. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0076/HRS_0076-0042.htm for details.

Also see §76-14, Merit appeals board; duties, and jurisdiction. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0076/HRS_0076-0014.htm for details. Visit the Merit Appeals Board website at http://hawaii.gov/hrd/main/ecd/mab/.

Also see Chapter 96 The Ombudsman. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0096/HRS_0096-.htm for details. Visit the Office of the Ombudsman website at http://www.ombudsman.hawaii.gov/.

Score: 100%

Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Yes: A YES score is earned if there is a mechanism to which civil servants and applicants for the civil service can take grievances regarding civil service management actions. The mechanism should be independent of their supervisors but can still be located within the government agency or entity (such as a special commission or board). Civil servants are able to appeal the mechanism’s decisions to the judiciary.
No: A NO score is earned if no such mechanism exists, or if the only recourse civil servants have is directly through the courts.

4. In law, civil servants convicted of corruption are prohibited from future state government employment.

Notes: There is no specific law barring a person who has been convicted of corruption from future state government employment, according to the state Department of Human Resources Development. Every civil service applicant needs to be deemed “suitable” for public employment, such as passing criminal history background checks, according the state Department of Human Resources Development. If convicted of a felony relating to their conduct, public service employees including civil servants may be terminated from their position. However, §831-3.1 says a person cannot be automatically disqualified from public office or state employment just because of a previous crime conviction.

Sources:

Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 76 Civil Service Law, Part 1. General Civil Service Provisions, §76-29 Person ineligible for appointment. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0076/HRS_0076-0029.htm for details.

Also see Chapter 78 Public Service,
§78-2.7 Criminal history record checks. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0078/HRS_0078-0002_0007.htm for details.

Also see §78-2.8, Public employees; termination. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0078/HRS_0078-0002_0008.htm for details.

Also see Chapter 831 Uniform Act on Status of Convicted Persons, §831-3.1 Prior convictions; criminal records; noncriminal standards. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol14_Ch0701-0853/HRS0831/HRS_0831-0003_0001.htm for details.

Score: 0%

Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Yes: A YES score is earned if there are specific rules prohibiting continued government employment following a corruption conviction.
No: A NO score is earned if no such rules exist or if the ban is not a lifetime ban.

Follow Civil Beat on Facebook and Twitter. You can also sign up for Civil Beat’s free daily newsletter.

Comments