Tax panel heads into executive session, then adjourns without calling back public.
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The sun apparently doesn’t shine too brightly at the Department of Taxation.
The public was locked out of a Thursday public meeting of the Hawaii Tax Review Commission.
The seven-member board quickly went into executive session after opening its 8:30 a.m. meeting. Members of the public were told to wait in a conference room. At 10:15, the waiting public was told the meeting had been adjourned. Six of the commission members had already left. The seventh, the group’s chairman, Randy Iwase, was the only one who remained.
The meeting was held in a room within the tax director’s office, which is locked and secured by an intercom. The conference room, where a reporter and four other members of the public were told to wait, is outside of the locked office and can’t be seen from the commission’s meeting room.
An administrative assistant assured attendees they would be notified once the public portion of the meeting resumed. But an hour and a half passed with no update. The intercom was used at least twice to check on the status of the meeting’s executive session.
Chairman Iwase repeatedly apologized that the public wasn’t let back in. He said staffers had looked outside the room, but couldn’t locate anyone. He said he was unaware that members of the public were told to wait in another room.
Blame it on miscommunication, but the public was ultimately left in the dark.
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