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Politics // The Right Price
Larry Price

UH Accountability So Far? None

There’s a lot of talk around town about accountability these days.

An accountability study is under way at the University of Hawaii. Surprisingly, it’s being engineered by the UH Board of Regents over the botched Stevie Wonder concert that was intended to raise funds for the athletic department but instead cost the school more than $200,000 in cash and untold thousands of dollars in legal costs.

Results of previous inquiries into the vanishing $200,000 are still unknown. About accountability for the scam, one athletic director is now living in California; there is proposed legislation to take back some of the university’s autonomous powers and more scrutiny of high salaries at the executive levels of the UH along with a question about paid sabbaticals for UH executives.

Accountability thus far? None, and the legislative session is more than halfway through, racing toward adjournment.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that the Regents’ inquiry will cost $260,000 and will be completed within 12 weeks. Spending a million of taxpayers’ dollars to assign accountability for a lost $200,000 makes the pursuit an expensive proposition.

On the other side of town, Hawaii Public Safety director Ted Sakai announced that two jail officers have been shifted from transport to administrative duties while authorities investigate how an inmate was able to escape their custody. Sakai has asked the National Institute for Corrections to review Hawaii practices for transporting inmates, but he doesn’t expect any immediate assistance because of the pending automatic federal spending cuts.

Mistakes cost money to correct, even if no accountability is discovered. It may be that accountability is just a hollow management threat.

It’s all so confusing for the taxpayers. In athletics, you are held accountable instantly by a scoreboard and everyone can see how your team has done, and you can get fired for basically two things: losing and cheating. You make your choice in the beginning and everyone knows the deal.

That’s the kind of accountability Hawaii’s taxpayers deserve. Problem is, we may not be able to afford it.

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