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Letter to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald from Randy Perreira

July 20, 2012

Executive Director Randy Perreira recently sent a letter to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald regarding the outcome of Hawaii County Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto's grievance. Following is the letter.

"We appreciate Nancy Cook Lauer giving HGEA an opportunity to comment about the outcome of Hawaii County Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto’s grievance. (“Nakamoto gets her job back,” July 11, 2012)

Over these past months, many in the Big Island community have heard only one perspective of this situation. The HGEA and the members we represent in this case have honored the understanding that for the benefit of the parties involved we do not publicly disclose information about pending grievances. It was difficult and frustrating for us to refrain from commenting, considering the amount of distorted and exaggerated information being shared in the media.

One of the primary principles of labor relations is the standard for discipline, which is “just and proper cause.” This standard is similar to the “due process” legal rights every American citizen is afforded.  Thus, HGEA’s focus on this case has always been about fairness, consistency and appropriate level of discipline.  

Now that there is resolution to this matter, I would like to take this opportunity to clarify some information. Ms. Nakamoto is a proud civil servant for 25 years and always took her job seriously. She was previously awarded “Manager of the Year,” but like many hardworking public employees, her greatest reward was simply doing her job each day and knowing she was making a difference for our community. She has never mixed politics with elections and it is a shame that people would even allude to that. And after years of dedicated public service, she was fired without just and proper cause, and was without a paycheck and has paid 100 percent of her medical premiums for the past seven months. But worst of all, her name and reputation have been dragged through the mud.  

It is shameful that the current County Council Chair Dominic Yagong, who is a mayoral candidate, continues to distort the facts. He implies that Ms. Nakamoto and Glen Shikuma were both violating the county Alcohol-Free Workplace Policy, yet he knows full well that the Ms. Nakamoto’s and Mr. Shikuma’s cases are separate and different. It is wrong for Mr. Yagong to say that Ms. Nakamoto violated any policy, when it is clear she has not.

Again, we appreciate the opportunity to comment. However, going forward, I urge you to obtain the facts and have a full understanding of both sides of the story before you form a judgment. As the primary media outlet for the island, you do a disservice to your readers by perpetuating half-truths. Our community deserves better. "

Thank you,
Randy Perreira

The following is the link to the article referred to in the letter:
http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/sections/news/local-news/fired-election-worker-will-return-job.html

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