HONOLULU (AP) — A proposed rule for Hawaii Tourism Authority board members would have them resign before publicly opposing a board action.
The tourism authority’s new code of conduct is part of a reorganization effort after facing legislative scrutiny and community pushback, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
Some members of the agency’s permanent administrative committee, which reviewed the proposed changes last week, objected to the line of a draft that states a board member must “resign as a board member s ‘he intends to publicly oppose a council’. action before doing so.
HTA Vice President David Arakawa compared it to a “gag order”.
“My main concern is, is HTA so paranoid that he wants to gag the board members?” he said.
There was no intention to silence board members, said Keith Regan, chief administrative officer of the tourism authority, author of the draft proposal.
He said the line some are challenging was inspired by the Society of Actuaries code, which he consulted when researching possible updates to the code of conduct.
Public board members should have the freedom to express their opinions, said Keli’i Akina, president and CEO of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.
The proposed project is submitted to a vote of the Board of Directors.
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