Enterprise Community Reconvenes
EC meets for first time since USDA mandated break
By Jennifer Smith
Enterprise Community Board Members reconvened meeting on Dec. 20. A recommendation by the US Department of Agriculture in April asked the board to temporarily suspend action.
For the first time since the federal government requested for the Molokai Enterprise Community (EC) to temporarily hold off on any board actions, the EC met Thursday night. What began as a public quorum, ended in a private session.
While the majority of practices under review by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) dealt with the EC board’s representation of the community’s interests, the end result allowed for the community to be further removed from EC actions.
The USDA now “allows us to conduct our business in private,” Board President Stacy Crivello said immediately after calling the meeting to order.
The decision came as a result of informal inquiries by EC board members discussing inabilities to conduct business efficiently in light of “public outbursts.”
Reading a letter from the entity that provided $10 million of funding for the EC’s creation in 1998, Crivello said that after six months of review the USDA found no rules had been broken.
The USDA also ruled that “land trust members do not have a fiduciary interest in the EC,” however they will opt not to vote on EC funded MLT projects in the future, according to Crivello.
As for Molokai Properties Limited (MPL) employees, the USDA decided they should not vote on land use issues. Past EC decisions concerning land use issues remain valid because the review found that MPL employee votes did not have a determining affect in the outcome.
Immediately after Crivello announced the USDA’s decision, board member Cheryl Corbiel’s motion to conduct the majority of the EC’s business in private was passed.
Several objections followed, as board members Bridget Mowat, Leila Stone, Sybil Lopez and Josh Pastrana addressed the necessity of keeping the community involved in the process.
Mowat argued issues such as Project #7, a water moratorium on large scale development, have “always been a community-involved project and should remain that way.”
However, a 6-4 vote decided the fate of Thursday’s meeting, setting a precedent in future community involvement. EC meetings will now include open and private sessions.
Crivello said the community will receive “generic information” regarding project updates and be allotted time for comments and questions during the open portion of EC meetings. The rest of business will likely take place during private sessions.
True to this new format, Thursday’s meeting provided updates on EC projects and time for the community to comment and ask questions. The board then closed the public portion of the meeting to reconvene in private.
Business to be covered behind closed doors included EC, otherwise known as Ke Aupuni Lokahi (KAL), board appointments, officer elections, 2008 Board of Directors elections, financial updates and a discussion of the motion to reactivate Project #7.
While, public information was not available before the holidays concerning the Dec. 20 private session, board members did answer a few questions on the agenda before closing the comment period.
Executive Director Abbey Mayer said appointed board members John Pele, Rick Cooke and Stacey Crivello’s terms had expired, and were up for nomination and direct appointment that night. Anyone could be nominated, but the candidates would be appointed by the board for two-year terms. Mayer said the board hoped to fill these spots during the private session.
Elected board members Russell Kallstom, Josh Pastrana, Sybil Lopez and Shannon Crivello’s spots will expire in early 2008. According to Mayer, board members retain their positions until elections are held. A date for the EC board member election is not currently set.
Crivello said a board development committee, usually made up of executive committee members, will decide on a date and whether any new spots will be created. Any new position created must comply with the USDA mandate that 55% of the board be publicly elected.
The nomination period for the KAL board members will be Dec. 20, 2007-Jan. 4, 2008.
Crivello did say the board would consider providing “executive summaries” of closed sessions, and that the minutes will be available once they are approved at the following meeting.
Administrative staff at the EC said the board decided, during their private session, to change the time of future meetings.The next meeting will be held the third Thursday of January at 4:45 p.m. in the DHHL conference room.