SHORTAGE AT DPP EFFECTS
Hawaii’s dwindling and fragile natural environment
is facing a far greater threat from the local government, where
administrative abuse has gone unchallenged or has been ignored for
years, than from invasive species and global warming. Not only are
there long, slow lines at the Honolulu Department of Planning and
Permitting (as reported in The Honolulu Advertiser, 7/13/07),
there are many other resources effected by the lack of response at DPP.
We have been warned about environmental threats
from outside elements, such as the introduction of alien species, but
rarely are we willing to publicly acknowledge the threat that the local
mayoral administration is posing to the environment by appointing
unskilled and unethical political appointees to head up city and county
agencies. Take, for example, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s
appointment of Mr. Henry Eng to the City and County of Honolulu’s
Department of Planning and Permitting. During Eng’s tenure as head of
the DPP he has failed to recruit and fill critical positions that
perform impact analysis that various projects have on the surrounding
environment. This staff shortage has become critical.
Some details regarding the staff shortage at DDP,
and our concerns, are addressed in the attached editorial.
LINK TO EDITORIAL:
We requested additional details regarding the staff
shortage in a letter to Mr. Eng and received the following response that
seriously downplays the extent of the shortage:
LINK TO RESPONSE:
On July 10, 2007, we sent another letter on
requesting additional information on Caroline McCabe’s leave of absence
but have not received a reply.
we have learned that she is currently working in Manhattan with the US
Army Corps of Engineers.
LINK TO LETTER:
Not only is this staff shortage causing long lines
and delays for the permitting process, and exposing our resources to
unnecessary pressures from lack of appropriate analytical review, it is
raising the question of where our taxes our going, particularly what is
saved by staff taking a long term leaves of absence. With so many
positions open for so long, in this and other agencies, the savings in
salary must be building up. On what is it being spent? Can staff from
lower level positions be trained for promotion from within? In the
time it has taken to [not] find new hires, several people could have
been trained and promoted for the benefit of all.
The heads of our governmental agencies need to
seriously look at their business needs, and take their staffing and job
requirements into account. As we have found and reported in the past,
some agencies have people wasting time because they do not have enough
to do. Let’s start treating government as a business, owned by the
people as well as serving the people.