No ethics punishment for Hawaii Island Mayor Kenoi over pCard use

The Hawaii County Board of Ethics says Mayor Billy Kenoi will not be punished for his alleged misuse of his government-issued credit card, or pCard.

Vice chair Kenneth Goodenow said the board issued an informal advisory opinion “after some preliminary matters, including the fact that the petitioner wasn’t present, the mayor’s attorneys came forward and indicated that the mayor was willing to agree that there was probable cause that a violation of the ethics code did occur.”

In its opinion, the board stated there was probable cause that a violation occurred, however “as long as it doesn’t happen again, that would be the end of the matter,” Goodenow said.

If Kenoi violates the code again, Goodenow says a more formal hearing process would be held and penalties could be imposed.

The board also plans to send a request to the county’s finance department to look at the pCard policy and implement changes.

We want to “make it clear to ensure that all county employees who have a pCard know that it cannot be, under any circumstances, be used for personal use,” Goodenow said.

Last week, a jury found Kenoi not guilty of criminal charges.

This ethics complaint is separate from that case.

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