UPDATED 4/17/12 11:30 a.m.

Hawaii gets mixed reviews on the question of whether residents can access the asset disclosure records of senior civil servants, according to the State Integrity Investigation.

Hawaii’s score on this question, 65 percent, was essentially equally to its overall D, or 66 percent, grade for State Civil Service Management.

Hawaii was in the middle of the pack for State Civil Service Management, ranking 26th. New Jersey came first and George placed last.

The State Integrity Investigation asked five questions to determine each state’s score on the accessibility of asset disclosure records of senior civil servants. The state’s grade was dragged down because for one question, whether the records are available within a reasonable period of time, it got 0 percent.

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.)

Bottom line: Hawaii could still make progress in making asset disclosure records more accessible to the public.

Here’s the basis for the 65-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 fifth question the State Integrity Investigation asked regarding State Civil Service Management.

Can citizens access the asset disclosure records of senior state civil servants?

Overall score: 65%

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

1. In law, citizens can access the asset disclosure records of senior state civil servants.

Notes: State law requires specific people mentioned under §84-17 (c) to file financial disclosures with the State Ethics Commission. Senior government employees, such as department heads and their deputies are required to file financial disclosures. State law requires the financial disclosures of state department directors and their deputies to be available for public inspection.

Sources: Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 84 Standards of Conduct, Part II. Code of Ethics, §84-17 Requirements of disclosure. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0017.htm for details.

Score: 100%

Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Yes: A YES score is earned if laws or regulations guarantee that citizens can access the asset records of senior state civil servants.
No: A NO score is earned if senior state civil servants do not file an asset disclosure. A NO score is also earned if senior state civil servants file an asset disclosure, but it is not available to the public.

2. In practice, citizens can access the asset disclosure records of senior state civil servants within a reasonable time period.

Notes: State law requires that senior state civil servants must file disclosures and that those disclosures of state department directors and their deputies be available for public inspection, according to State Ethics Commission executive director Les Kondo.

However, the scoring of this criteria really depends on what your definition of senior civil servant is. More than 90 percent of financial disclosures — documents required to be filed by Hawaii public employees and politicians to enhance government transparency — are not visible to the public. Kondo told Civil Beat that approximately 160 of the 1,800 financial disclosure filings the ethics commission receives each year are public1. As a courtesy, not because it is required by statute, the commission posts 160 filings online here: http://hawaii.gov/ethics/findisc

See §84-17 Requirements of disclosure (http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0017.htm) for details.

Sources:

• Michael Golojuch, Jr., secretary to deputy director, state Department of Human Resources Development, 9/27/11, email response.

• Honolulu Civil Beat, Robert Brown, 4/25/11, “Hawaii Disclosure Law For Government Officials Not Transparent,

• Les Kondo, executive director, State Ethics Commission, 10/7/11, telephone interview.

Score: 0%

Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Very Strong: Records are available online, or records can be obtained within two days. Records are uniformly available; there are no delays for politically sensitive information.
Fair: Records take around two weeks to obtain. Some delays may be experienced.
Very Weak: Records take more than a month to acquire. In some cases, records may be available sooner, but there may be persistent delays in obtaining politically sensitive records.

3. In practice, citizens can access the asset disclosure records of senior state civil servants at a reasonable cost.

Notes: “There are no civil service employment-related disclosure requirements other than any imposed by the ethics rules and the Ethics Commission,” according to the state Department of Human Resources Development. State Ethics Commission executive director Les Kondo referred to the state law regarding financial disclosures, which does include senior state civil servants who must file disclosures. State law requires the financial disclosures of state department directors and their deputies to be available for public inspection.

See §84-17 Requirements of disclosure (http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0017.htm) for details.

The financial disclosures are free on the State Ethics Commission’s website. Visit (http://hawaii.gov/ethics/findisc) for details.

Sources:

• Michael Golojuch, Jr., secretary to deputy director, state Department of Human Resources Development, 9/27/11, email response.

• Les Kondo, executive director, State Ethics Commission, 10/7/11, telephone interview.

Score: 100%

Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Very Strong: Records are free to all citizens, or available for the cost of photocopying. Records can be obtained at little cost, such as by mail or online.
Fair: Records impose a financial burden on citizens, journalists, or CSOs. Retrieving records may require a visit to a specific office, such as the state capitol.
Very Weak: Retrieving records imposes a major financial burden on citizens. Records costs are prohibitive to most citizens, journalists, or CSOs trying to access this information.

4. In practice, the asset disclosure records of senior state civil servants are of high quality.

Notes: “There are no civil service employment-related disclosure requirements other than any imposed by the ethics rules and the Ethics Commission,” according to the state Department of Human Resources Development. State Ethics Commission executive director Les Kondo referred to the state law regarding financial disclosures, which does include senior state civil servants who must file disclosures. However, disclosures are locked in a PDF format and are sometimes hand-written.

There have also been instances where disclosures were inaccurate or incomplete. For example, the Ethics Commission reviewed the financial disclosures of state Sen. Clayton Hee after blogger Ian Lind reported that Hee filed incomplete and false reports. The Commission followed up with an informal advisory opinion, prompting Hee to amend his reports after the fact.

See §84-17 Requirements of disclosure (http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0017.htm) for details.

The financial disclosures are available as pdf documents on the State Ethics Commission’s website. Visit (http://hawaii.gov/ethics/findisc) for details.

Sources:

• Michael Golojuch, Jr., secretary to deputy director, state Department of Human Resources Development, 9/27/11, email response.

• Les Kondo, executive director, State Ethics Commission, 10/7/11, telephone interview.

• iLind.net, Ian Lind, 10/22/11, “Senator Hee escapes ethics penalties despite commission concerns”

Score: 75%

Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Very Strong: The asset disclosure records of senior state civil servants are complete and detailed, providing the public with an accurate and updated accounting of the individuals’ sources of income, investments, and other financial interests.
Fair: The asset disclosure records of senior state civil servants contain some useful information but may be lacking important details, including politically sensitive investment or other financial arrangements in which the individual has an interest.
Very Weak: The asset disclosure records of senior state civil servants are overly general, lack any meaningful detail, and do not provide a clear accounting of the individuals’ sources of income, investments, and other financial assets.

5. In practice, the asset disclosure records of senior state civil servants are accessible to the public online in a meaningful and accessible manner.

Notes: “There are no civil service employment-related disclosure requirements other than any imposed by the ethics rules and the Ethics Commission,” according to the state Department of Human Resources Development. State Ethics Commission executive director Les Kondo referred to the state law regarding financial disclosures, which does include senior state civil servants who must file disclosures. State law requires the financial disclosures of state department directors and their deputies to be available for public inspection.

See §84-17 Requirements of disclosure (http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0017.htm) for details.

The financial disclosures are available as pdf documents on the State Ethics Commission’s website. Visit (http://hawaii.gov/ethics/findisc) for details.

Sources:

• Michael Golojuch, Jr., secretary to deputy director, state Department of Human Resources Development, 9/27/11, email response.

• Les Kondo, executive director, State Ethics Commission, 10/7/11, telephone interview.

Score: 50%

Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Very Strong: The information is available online and is as complete as possible, including any raw or meta data necessary to fully understand how the final information was generated. The information is primary source data, is made available in real-time or within a matter of weeks, is available to the public via an Application Programming Interface (API), and is machine readable. Anyone can access the information at any time, and there is no cost burden on the public in downloading or accessing the information. The information is archived and/or available online in perpetuity, and there are no licensing restrictions limiting its use.
Fair: The information is available online and is generally accessible, but some exceptions exist. Some information may not be machine readable (for example, locked in PDF format) and third-party programs or software may be required to process and use the information once it is downloaded. Certain licensing restrictions may impose a burden on sharing the information and/or analysis of the information.
Very Weak: The information is not available online, or is available online in such a format as to render it useless for the majority of the public. Special skills and/or software are required to process the information, and the information is not machine readable and must be manually “scraped” in order to analyze it in bulk. Significant cost and/or licensing barriers pose major hurdles in the public accessing or using the information.

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