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Molokai Enterprise Community Plans to Cancel Public Elections

Letting a little “sunshine” in on the sun-setting agency.

By Brandon Roberts

Molokai Enterprise Community (EC) will lose it’s federal funding status later this year on Dec. 24, at which time it will continue on as Ke Aupuni Lokahi (KAL). According EC interim director and president, Stacy Crivello, any remaining grant money will be lost if it is not spent by this date.

In light of the looming deadline, EC interim director and president, Stacy Crivello, is pushing the board of directors to amend the EC by-laws to allow a cancellation publicly held annual elections. Crivello said that it was not the time to bring in new board members when the EC must appropriate and spend its remaining funds.

Cancelling the Vote

A May 9 press release stated that EC board members will vote via email on a change in by-laws that would cancel the elections. The rules state that a written notice must be submitted to all board members 10 days in advance of any amendment.

EC board member Bridget Mowat said that if the elections were held, there would be a serious potential changeup in the board.

Five of nine EC board members have endorsed Molokai Ranch’s proposed development at La`au Point in trade for 50,000 acres of Ranch land entrusted to the Molokai Land Trust (MLT). Presently, four pro-development EC members are also on the MLT board, including Crivello, Colette Machado, Ricki Cooke, and Cheryl Corbiel.

Mowat is amongst three other EC board members who oppose the La`au Development. “The tables would turn,” she said in support of the election.

"It's not fair to our community to announce an election, advertise for candidates, and then cancel the election in a meeting that the public can't even attend,” Mowat said in the press release.

Board member Sybil Lopez believes the annual elections are the kuleana (responsibility) of the EC.

“They (EC leadership) have not developed an effective way of disseminating information so that everyone on the board can efficiently do the work that is at hand,” Lopez said regardomg Crivello’s fear of taking on new members.

Public Shut Out

The EC met April 17 at Kulana `Oiwi and voted six to four on a private meeting, shutting out the press and public within the first five minutes of meeting. The reason, presented by Crivello, was so that the board could review agenda items and hold “candid discussions.”

No where in the KAL by-laws are private meetings discussed, though a 2007 review of EC operations conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), granted the EC permission to exclude public participation.

“It's not about ‘our’ anymore, it is about ‘we’ and what ‘we’ need to be doing for the greater good of Molokai people,” Lopez said.

Unspent Money

The EC has roughly $123,000 remaining in in unspent grants. Another $140,000 has been appropriated for administrative costs. Not included in these numbers are thousands in unspent funds granted to EC projects. Project managers must present new expenditure requests subject to EC approval.

Crivello and Machado did not respond several phone calls or emails concerning recent EC issues.

The executive committee is President, and interim Director Crivello, Vice President Colette Machado, Secretary Cheryl Corbiel, and Treasurer Russell Kolstrom. The executive board consists of Ricki Cooke, John Pele, Shannon Crivello, Leila Stone, Joshua Pastrana, Sybil Lopez, and Bridget Mowat.

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