Akaku Story Warrants Clarification

Ms. Cluett’s September 11, 2008 article, “Community Voice in Jeopardy as Akaku Faces Bid,” warrants clarification.

First, public, education and government (PEG) access services contracts, like Akaku’s contract with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA), must comply with the public procurement process not because of the “controversy over Akaku’s funding” as stated in the article, but because the State Procurement Office (SPO) determined that the PEG contracts must be awarded in accordance with the procurement law.  DCCA asked SPO in June 2006 for a permanent exemption from the procurement code, but SPO concluded that the PEG access services contracts were subject to the request for proposals (RFP) procurement process.

Second, Ms. Cluett’s charge that “Hawai‘i is the only state to put its public access organizations up for bid,” fails to note that throughout the mainland, PEG contracts are generally issued by cities, counties and regional areas.  Cities such as San Francisco have solicited public access services contracts via the public procurement process.

Third, the RFP process does not necessarily mean that the lowest bidder will win the PEG contract.  There are other criteria such as a bidder’s qualifications and experience, management team/technical staff experience, references, access services and overall plan, and other services, which are just as or more important than the amount of funding requested.

Fourth, the Task Force is not a “DCCA task force” but was created by the State Legislature who determined the make-up of the Task Force and asked DCCA to provide administrative support to the group.  DCCA is not chairing the Task Force and does not exercise control over it.  All Task Force meetings are held on O‘ahu, but video conference participation is available on Maui, Kaua‘i and the Big Island.  Moloka‘i residents as well as other interested persons are welcome and encouraged to submit written comments or statements to the Task Force c/o the Task Force Chair, Eric Knutzen at eknutzen@kauai.gov.

Finally, the article is mistaken in its contention that Attorney General’s office “sided with DCCA” in concluding that public access program contracts must be awarded in accordance with the procurement law.  It was DCCA’s position that public access program contracts should be exempt from the law.  The State Procurement Office, however, disagreed.

Clyde S. Sonobe
Cable Television Administrator
Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs

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