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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 25, 2010

New member enables EUTF board to deal with problems

Advertiser Staff

The Hawai'i Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund's board of trustees will finally be able to meet, thanks to the appointment of a new member.

Gov. Linda Lingle has appointed Bobby Lee, head of the Hawaii Fire Fighters Association, as a trustee, clearing the way for the board to achieve the necessary quorum needed to meet. Russell Pang, a spokesman for Lingle, said the trustees will be able to meet next week.

The board, which operates with five representatives from state and county governments and five from labor organizations, has been unable to meet since the end of last year because of the departure of four union members. Since then, the board has been unable to meet because of the quorum deficiency.

The Lingle administration has blamed the tardy appointments on the labor organizations, saying they were late in getting a list of candidates for appointments to it. Earlier this month, the unions proposed filling the seats with Lee, Hawaii Government Employees Association head Randy Perreira, University of Hawaii Professional Assembly Executive Director J.N. Musto and Dayton Nakanelua, United Public Workers state director.

Pang said Lingle is continuing to review the candidates for the other open seats.

The EUTF helps administer health care benefits for state and county workers and retirees. It has been beset by a number of problems brought on by a lack of staffing, a confluence of new programs taking effect and departure of its two top executives. The next trustees meeting is set for March 3.