Two University of Hawaii regents resign

Credit: http://www.hawaii.edu/admin/regents/
Credit: http://www.hawaii.edu/admin/regents/

HONOLULU (AP) – Two members of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents have resigned after state lawmakers unanimously passed a bill requiring public financial disclosures from people serving on more than a dozen state boards and commissions.

Regents John Dean and Saedene Ota submitted resignation letters to Gov. Neil Abercrombie this month, citing the bill.

Abercrombie included the bill on a list of 10 he intends to veto, but has not made a final decision or given specific reasoning for considering the veto.

The bill, SB2682, would make annual financial disclosure statements publicly available for the 15-member board and other agencies.

The board has objected to the expanded disclosures and sent a letter to Abercrombie asking him to veto the bill.

In a letter dated June 12, Dean explained his resignation to Gov. Abercrombie in relation to the Senate bill:

“I respect and appreciate the intent of our state legislature to create greater transparency among public officials, which I certainly do not oppose. And, I am most willing to provide a complete disclosure of my affiliations, as well as my personal financial information, to the state Ethics Commission. Furthermore, I am willing to disclose my affiliations publicly, however, I do not have an interest in making my family’s personal financial information available to the general public as mandated by the bill, should it become law. My resignation at this time is strictly a personal decision that is consequent to the unanimous support for SB 2682 by both the House and Senate.”

View Dean’s full resignation letter here.

On June 26, Ota said in her resignation letter to the Governor that:

“I have nothing to hide and had no qualms disclosing my financial information to the Ethics Commission. However SB 2682, which unanimously passed in both the House and Senate, exposes my finances to the general public. This information is personal and confidential. As volunteers in a part-time but time-consuming board, I as well as my fellow regents, sacrifice our personal business affairs and time with our families. SB 2682 sends a clear message to me as a Regent that effectively goes beyond the call of volunteer service.”

View Ota’s full resignation letter here.

Click here to read SB2682 in its entirety.

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