Despite the Hawaii Legislature‘s rejection of a $2.2 million administration request to support security for the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders Meeting, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz says the state still expects to get financial support from Washington.
“We are confident that we will be able to provide adequate law enforcement,” Schatz told Civil Beat Wednesday. “We will find the money.”
House Bill 1012, which would have appropriated state funds for use by the Attorney General’s Office, died in conference committee April 29.
Schatz declined to speculate as to why the bills died — “I am not a pundit” — but he expressed confidence that the Attorney General’s Office as well as the Department of Public Safety, which runs the Sheriff Division, would be reimbursed by the federal government for expenses.
Schatz said the costs, primarily for overtime hours, were still estimated to be about $2 million.
“We will request for expenses incurred for whatever it costs state taxpayers,” he said. “Our objective is to determine staff levels here to make sure that, whatever persons we allocate to APEC, we keep the public safe in other parts of the state in case we have to deal with multiple situations at once. Because, once our people are assigned, they will not be pulled off. They will be under the command of the Secret Service.”
The goal of APEC is “to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.”
The 2011 APEC meeting will bring 21 heads of state from “member economies” including China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Australia and Mexico.
As host nation this year, President Barack Obama and high-ranking administration officials will be on hand to welcome participants.
The meetings are scheduled for Nov. 8-13 in Honolulu, primarily at the Hawaii Convention Center. A business advisory council meeting is set for Nov. 7-9, while a climate symposium is scheduled for Oct. 17-20.
Schatz said the compensation for overtime hours is necessary.
“The Sheriff Division doesn’t have a lot of employees,” he explained. “In order to have them continue in their day jobs and then provide law enforcement during APEC week, they would be on overtime. And they will need national security special-events training in addition to their day job. It’s not like they stop being sheriffs.”
Schatz continued: “We are in a unique situation compared to other states. We can’t borrow from a different jurisdiction. We have who we have.”
Schatz said the Legislature’s rejection of the funding request has not impacted the state’s ability to obtain federal funding.
“We are working very well together,” he said. “They have been very collaborative with both HPD and state law enforcement, and we are moving forward full steam ahead. It is the U.S. government’s job in partnership with the state and county government to keep us very safe.”
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