“The scoring panel lacks diversity in basic key areas, including gender, profession, residence, and cultural and ethnic background,” her resignation letter said. “As one who has spent decades advocating for diversity and equity in representation, and whose commission appointment was supported by community members who share in these values, I hope you can understand why I have chosen not to continue to be a part of the selection process.”
Costales’ letter noted that she has raised her concerns at recent commission meetings.
The commission hasn’t released the names of the semifinalists. A new chief is needed for the beleaguered department after Louis Kealoha agreed to retire amid a federal investigation. A federal grand jury is looking into allegations of civil rights abuses and corruption. Kealoha’s attorneys have denied any wrongdoing.
“I understand Luella’s concerns and agree that leadership should have provided more information regarding the consultant and the process he would use. But at this point we are well into the selection,” said Loretta Sheehan, another commission member. “We can audit the consultant’s work by reading the tests that were administered and the answers that were provided by all of the applicants.”
The consultant selected the panel members, Sheehan said.
Steven Levinson, another commission member, said the resignation comes as a surprise, even though Costales voiced concern about the demographics of the panel at a recent meeting. “I did not see a problem where she saw a problem,” he said.