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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 29, 2002

Legislators want audit of agency

Associated Press

Senate and House committees have approved resolutions calling for an audit of the state Historic Preservation Division.

Allegations of mismanagement and of staff taking shopping trips during work hours were among the allegations levied Wednesday at a hearing on the resolutions by the Senate Water, Land, Energy and Environment Committee.

Patricia Brown-Torres said she spent a year volunteering at the agency and noticed abuses ranging from "extended shopping trips, watching TV, extended lunch breaks and frequent absences from office during the workday by clerical staff."

She said that when she brought the issue to division officials, she was told staff members worked hard and needed to get out of the office once in awhile.

Administrator Don Hibbard said the agency is a victim of budget cuts that resulted in lost positions and not enough money.

"The department is somewhat concerned about the tone of the resolutions, and we feel some of the statements are a bit overstated," he told senators.

The division, part of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, is responsible for a number of historic preservation duties.

The Senate committee passed two resolutions calling for an audit.

The House Water and Land Use Committee also passed a similar resolution.