The Honolulu Ethics Commission is recommending a six-day unpaid suspension for an employee who used a city vehicle to drive to football games three weekends in a row in 2017.

“The Ethics Commission believes that this behavior is reprehensible and gives a black-eye to the city,” Commission Chair Vicky Marks wrote in an opinion published on the agency’s website on Tuesday. “The Commission strongly condemns using city vehicles for personal purposes.”

City Ethics chair Victoria Marks. 9 aug 2016

Victoria Marks, a retired state court judge, is the chairwoman of the Honolulu Ethics Commission.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

In the opinion, the employee’s name and identifying details, including the department they work for, are redacted. It does say, however, that the employee is a supervisor of four other workers, works Thursday through Monday and begins their workday at 6:30 a.m.

On Sept. 24, 2017, the employee watched a football game at a commercial establishment around 7 a.m, the ethics opinion states, and the city vehicle assigned to the employee was parked right outside. The same situation occurred the following two weekends, according to the opinion. In all cases, the city vehicle was photographed outside the establishment. The opinion doesn’t say who took the photos.

The employee had attended ethics training in 2014, and did not report his side trips in city paperwork, the opinion states. Marks wrote that the employee was “fully cooperative and appears to have been sincere and honest” in their responses to the commission.

“Respondent has been very patient in that the case has taken almost three years to resolve,” he said. “Respondent has taken responsibility for these actions and has no prior disciplinary actions.”

The opinion is the first the Honolulu Ethics Commission has published about employee misconduct in over a year. In April 2019, it dismissed concerns about a city employee using a city social media account to “like” a political campaign’s post. The only other opinion the group has issued between then and now is one allowing first responders to accept tokens of aloha and acts of kindness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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