Optimizing the Way We Run Our County and Manage the County Assets
Maui County is staffed by intelligent and well-meaning local citizens, and many of whom I have spoken with have great concern with the waste we allow in our county operations. There have been some great county councilmembers who have tackled this head on, attempting to limit nepotism and increase accountability, and I would like to continue this work.
I am a passionate supporter of the City Manager switch within the county, which would mean the county would hire one central manager to oversee operations, and that person would not be switched out every time we elect a new mayor. The move to the form of management should limit political favoritism and appointments and increase efficiency while decreasing waste. It would create hired positions, not appointed positions, where people could expect to run their county department for 20-30 years, thus making changes for the long term. BUT, in many cases around the country, the city manager position means that change is slow and there is no one in power to make the change, especially in larger cities. I can only see the City Manager System working well for our county if we still allow the mayor a reasonable level of control, boost the power of the county council to make decisions (including the ability to veto the mayor, as we saw fail when the council recently voted to settle rather than fight the Clean Water Act suit against our deep well wastewater issue in Lahaina, but the mayor overrode their decision). A strong county manager needs to be teamed with a strong mayor and a strong council. Consistency and efficiency would come from the county manager, leadership and direction from the mayor, and For more information, read here.
Our county has an enormous budget, and our per capita budget puts us on par with the average per capita spending rate in most major cities. What most major cities have, however, is the THIRD LARGEST TOURISM RATE PER CAPITA in the WORLD! and the highest per capita rate in the country (the only places in the world with higher per capita tourism rates are tiny island nations in the Caribbean, see my TOURISM page for more information). However, our state covers the cost of many aspects of government that our county doesn't cover, such as education, a library system, and many of our roads. So, I do think we are capable, even without raising taxes on tourists, to provide a higher level of service and amenities in this county than we currently do. We need to get tight with our county budget and trim waste, just like we have had to do with our own household budgets through the pandemic, and our spending from here on out should be focuses on what provides the highest level of support and longterm benefit for our locals.
I also would be present at as many of our county meetings as I can, to make sure I help our county move towards a more efficient and fiscally sound . This is not common practice with many of our councilmembers, who seem to skip as many meetings as they can. Even though councilmember is considered a "part-time position", I would make it my full-time position. I am already constantly present in our community activities, meetings, and councils, and I want to add to that and spend more time talking to those who may not engage in politics or county operations, but have great ideas and concerns.