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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Commission clears city's acting manager

By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer

Wayne Hashiro

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Acting City Managing Director Wayne Hashiro did not violate the city ethics code in his handling of consultant contracts awarded to companies that employed his son, the city Ethics Commission said in a written opinion yesterday.

But he should have avoided all involvement with the contracts to avoid "even the appearance of impropriety or conflict of interest," the commission said.

The opinion was requested last month by City Council member Charles Djou, chairman of the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee, which must confirm Hashiro's nomination to the managing director's job.

Hashiro said yesterday afternoon he had not read the opinion, written by Ethics Commission executive director Charles Totto.

"Whatever he finds, he finds," Hashiro said. "I have nothing to hide."

Djou asked for the opinion after an Advertiser story detailed personal and business relationships between Hashiro, former city official Timothy Steinberger and two consulting engineering firms, URS Corp. and Yogi Kwong Engineers.

Totto issued an eight-page letter stating there is "no evidence to conclude that Mr. Hashiro violated the ethics law" in his handling of nonbid consulting contracts awarded to URS and Yogi Kwong.

As reported previously, other city officials selected the companies for the jobs and Hashiro signed subsequent contract paperwork last year as a "ministerial" duty of his job at the time, director of the Department of Design and Construction.

Totto noted in his opinion, "The business and personal associations of high-level city officers are often carefully scrutinized. The commission recommends that such officers remove themselves from participating in contract, permit or regulatory matters that affect their immediate family members."

Delegating such matters to others, Totto said, "would help foster public confidence in government integrity."

Reach Jim Dooley at jdooley@honoluluadvertiser.com.