Outgoing Honolulu City Council Chairman Ikaika Anderson, who announced his resignation this week, hasn’t finished up his work at city hall but already has a new job.
Anderson has been hired by Local 630, the plasterers and cement masons union, and has been working there part-time since Sept. 1, he confirmed on Friday.
He said he didn’t disclose the new position on the day he shared the news of his retirement because the job isn’t why he’s leaving public service, “and I didn’t want people think that’s the reason why I left.”
He maintains he is stepping down to help take care of his grandparents.
“I’ve been in Foodland for the last two hours,” he said. “That’s the stuff, really, that is taking me away from council stuff. The Local 630 stuff, no. My duties to my grandparents do take me away from the office.”
The chair said he is “not certain” when he is expected to start work with the union full time, but an audio recording of the union’s announcement to its members indicates that date is Sept. 23, Anderson’s final day on the council.
Asked about his new job title, Anderson said he didn’t have his business cards on him and wasn’t sure. He declined to discuss his new job duties.
“I’m not going to get into that right now,” he said.
According to the recording of the union meeting, Anderson will be doing “government work,” compliance work and attending “legislative” meetings. No one answered the phone at the Local 630 office on Friday afternoon.
Anderson said he won’t be doing any work that relates to the Honolulu City Council or Honolulu Hale. Doing so could violate a city ethics rule that prohibits elected officials from appearing before the public agency they used to serve within one year of leaving their post.
The city also has a rule against public officials accepting gifts in any form, including money or promises, that one could “reasonably” consider an attempt to influence the public official.
Anderson said he has done nothing to benefit Local 630 in his council capacity.
“No one affiliated, I believe, with Local 630 has ever even stepped foot in my office,” he said.
That’s not to say though that union issues never came across the council’s agenda. Earlier this year, for example, unions scored a big win at city hall with the passage of legislation sponsored by Councilman Joey Manahan that requires union labor on public works projects over $2 million. Anderson received testimony from many entities – including the Hawaii Construction Alliance, which represents Local 630 – and voted in favor of the bill.
He’s also received construction union support for his political campaigns in the past, including from Local 630, but campaign finance data shows no recent donations from Local 630 to Anderson’s campaign.
“I haven’t done anything at the behest of Local 630,” he said. “I support skilled labor. Always have. I don’t hide that fact.”
Anderson, who said he started talking with the union about a job in late August, said there is nothing unethical about working for the union and the council at the same time.
“It wouldn’t have conflicted with anything,” he said. “And if there were ever any conflicts, I’d simply either recuse myself from a vote, or I’d file a disclosure as other members have routinely done.”
He said the new job will give him the flexibility to take care of his grandparents, his family and their floral business, which is undergoing a condo property regime process that demands his attention.
“I’d still be able to take my grandparents to doctor appointments, pick up medications, do their shopping, all of that,” he said. “That’s really what did it for me, the understanding that I could do those things.”
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