Tidbits from state procurement files

Every so often I like to browse contracts posted on the State Procurement Office website, especially those seeking by bypass competitive bidding due to emergency conditions. Administrative problems behind the scenes are often disclosed in these requests for exemption.

Here are a few I flagged in a quick review today.

The Department of Transportation Highways Division asked to be exempted because a new contract to purchase highway signs has been delayed by an ongoing bid protest dating back to August 2017. The Chief Procurement Officer rejected the request.

Requesting Department: Transportation/Highways. Contractor: To be determined. Amount: $200,000.
Work shall consist of furnishing and delivering traffic signs at the unit bid price for the Island of Oahu. The new contract cannot be scheduled for bidding due to an on-going protest….This request for an exemption from Chapter 103D, HRS will allow the State (DOT, Highways Div.-Oahu District) to procure the materials over the Small Purchase threashold limit of $100,000 while the protest is being resolved….”
Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) Comments: The request is disapproved as it lacks justification for an exemption. Setting a precedence (sic) for exempting the small purchase threshold when a department fails to resolve a protest in a timely manner is not warranted….The Department is advise to resolve the protest and resolicit with the appropriate method of procurement.”

Read the Department’s request.

Honolulu Stadium’s sole passenger elevator “has been operating erradically (sic) and breaking down unexpectedly,” according to the request for exemption. Any bets on how long this has been going on?

Requesting Department: Stadium Authority. Contractor: Kone, Inc. Amount: $150,000. The Stadium’s only passenger elevator has been operating erradically (sic) and breaking down unexpectedly. People have been stuck & requiring assistance to be removed. During this past busy season, it was down for several events including highly attended UH football games. Breakdowns and intermittent service outages necessitates action be taken to address safety, accessibility, & evacuation concerns. The elevator serves a number of different transport functions, including transporting handicapped, dignitaries, food & bev. contractor, coaches, press, & stadium staff. When the elevator is out of service, it prevents access to levels for those with certain mobility disabilities, which creates non-compliant situation. Unexpected break downs result in Stadium staff being redirected to transport by golf cart, those people that require assistance up and down the circular pedestrial walk-ramp. Transport by cart creates liability issues at it traverses between walking and riding patrons.
Read the department’s request.

Work to repair a leaking roof in a building used by the Developmental Disabilities Division of the Dept. of Health couldn’t be completed by the original deadline due to a nearly two-month delay “in contract processing by the Department…”

Requesting Department: DOH-Developmental Disabilities Division. Contractor: Kapili Construction LLC. Extension of contract period. Amount: $12,499.28
This request for exemption…is to complete the remaining work for the roof repair for the Hale A Complex located at 2201 Waimano Home Road, Oahu, with Kapili Construction LLC. KC did not complete the roof repairs due to the delay in contract processing by the Department of Health and poor weather conditions which prohibited KC from working on the roof. The contract start date was March 1, 2017. Due to internal contract processing, the contract was executed on April 18, 2017 in the amount of $76,500.

The Hale A building roof leaking has been a problem for several years. Several ceiling tiles fell in February 2017. Fortunately, there was no injury to DDD employees or visitors and no other property damage. The DDD Administrator deemed the Hale A roof repair an urgent matter requiring immediate attention. KC was awarded this contract on February 24, 2017….
Read the department’s request.

KHON stonewalls on Peter Boy Kema video

[Update: I received word that within minutes of this post appearing this morning, KHON GM Kristina Lockwood emailed Steve Lane, special master for the Kema siblings, and said the video materials at issue will be returned to the family in Kona. It was an abrupt but very welcome turnaround for the station.]

The latest round of victimization for the surviving siblings of Peter Boy Kema appears to have come at the hands of Hawaii’s FOX affiliate, KHON2, according to emails between the station’s general manager and a court-appointed special master representing the Kema children, now all adults.

KHON has rejected a request from the Kema family to return video loaned to the station years ago following Peter Boy’s disappearance, saying they would not cooperate unless ordered by a court.

Steve Lane, a Honolulu private investigator with more than three decades experience now serving as special master, says the Kema siblings initially asked KHON to return “the original video material that the Kema family kindly loaned your station years ago of Peter Boy Kema-their only copies of such video- in their hopes that you might help them find their child.” He said the family hopes to use the video in a memorial service for Peter Boy currently being planned.

“We certainly understand that after so many years that it is difficult to locate the original tapes so all they are requesting at this time is a copy of whatever footage you took from the original tapes,” Lane wrote in an email to the station.

Instead of returning the video, the station requested an interview. When that request was turned down, the station responded by saying that the video would not be returned absent a court order specifically directing the video to be released.

“If you want our video, please get a court order specifically requesting this,” Kristina Lockwood, KHON vice-president and general manager, wrote in an email on Friday afternoon.

Lane fired back: “For you to now hold their personal property hostage to an interview or a court order is disgraceful.”

Lane says he hopes to file a subpoena for the material as early as tomorrow.

Getting ready for another funeral

We’re girding up for a funeral later this morning, saying goodbye to a cousin, Moana Eisele.

Here’s snippet from the current issue of Hana Hou Magazine:

Like most Hawaiian arts, kapa-making has its genealogies—the various lines through which the knowledge and skill have been transported through time. But in this case, it’s a relatively short generational arcone. By most accounts, Hawai‘i’s modern kapa revival began roughly thirty years ago—though at the time, the first wave of modern kapa making would have seemed more like a ripple.

Moana Eisele is widely revered as one of a half-dozen or so people who were instrumental in the revival….

Technically, we’re 2nd cousins.

What does that mean? Our grandmothers were sisters.

They’re both in this photo taken in Waipahu around 1948.

Moana’s grandmother, Helen (Cathcart) McPherson, is third from the left. My grandmother, Lani (Cathcart) Yonge, is fifth from the left in front row, her face partially blocked by the flower of the girl standing next to her.


At some point, my sister, Bonnie (also in the photo, standing in front of my mom) recorded as many names as she could remember.

ID – from left: unknown, hidden, unknown, Auntie Helen, Auntie Gretchen Akana (my godmother, rear), unknown but possibly Auntie Alice Lane, our grandmother, [front to back] Mahealani Fernandez (her mother is Mahealiani Jones Fernandez), Auntie Emma Dunn (sister of Alice Lane and Priory student at same time as our grandmother), Mrs. Alice Cowan, me, our mother, Hattie Blackburn, Auntie Louisa Cathcart Harris, Aunt Pat Yonge (Uncle Jimi’s first wife).

More funerals these days are for family and friends in our generation. That’s more than a little sobering.

Newly hired teacher faces two month delay in pay

A Facebook friend posted this yesterday.

I just learned today that I should expect an 8-week pay gap with my new Hawaii DOE…teacher position. How am I supposed to live like this? This is why teachers go homeless here. I can’t meet my basic financial needs and care for Gusto with an 8-week pay gap! It is unacceptable for teachers who are already making below cost of living wages to not get paid until 8 weeks after their start date! I’m on my own, and this isn’t going to work.

I edited this slightly to remove the specific type of position and protect the teacher’s identity.

This inexcusable delay in paying new state employees has been an issue for decades, literally. I’m stunned that it hasn’t long since been resolved.

A reasonable delay for processing paperwork for a new employee, okay. Two months? Not reasonable! If this is how teacher recruitment is handled, no wonder we have a chronic shortage.

Isn’t this unconscionable?