Molokai Enterprise Community Plans to Cancel Public Elections
(UPDATED 5/10/2008) KAUNAKAKAI, HAWAI'I: On the eve of its tenth and final year of federal funding, the Moloka'i Enterprise Community (EC), Ke Aupuni Lōkahi, Inc., is taking final steps to exclude the community from its board by planning to cancel regularly held elections.
On April 17, in a meeting that was closed to the public, the board split 5-4 on the question of voting electronically to cancel the already over-due election, according to EC board member Bridget Mowat.
The organization's bylaws require annual elections. This year's election was slated to be held in January or February of 2008, when the terms of office for four of the board members expired. The EC board is required by federal law to have 55% of its members elected to their seats by the general public. Six residents had announced their candidacies for the each of the vacant seats.
The organization's acting Executive Director, Stacy Crivello, recommended that the EC's bylaws be amended to eliminate the requirement of an annual election. She said that since the organization's status as a federally-designated Enterprise Community will sunset in December of this year, it would be too difficult for any newly-elected members to learn about the organization in time to complete its work.
Ms. Mowat said "It's not fair to our community to announce an election, advertise for candidates, and then plan to cancel the election in a meeting that the public can't even attend."
The final decision to cancel EC board elections is expected by the May, according to Mowat.
The majority members on the EC board, all of whom supported development at La'au Point, decided several months ago that their meetings would be closed to the public. The remaining four say they would like elections to be held this year and would also like to reopen board meetings to the public. (The four are Sybil Lopez, Bridget Mowat, Joshua Pastrana and Leila Stone.)
In response to advertised requests for candidates in early January, the EC received applications from six Moloka'i residents: Kelly Davis, Mahie McPherson, Steve Morgan, Shannon Crivello, Russell Kallstrom, and Joshua Pastrana. Crivello, Kallstrom, and Pastrana are current members of the EC board. The other three candidates opposed Molokai Ranch's plan to develop La'au Point.