Breaking: Kauai Councilmember Arrested

The primary question being asked by people is “What happens next?”

Many want to know if/when Councilmember Brun will be removed from office and if/when that happens, how is his replacement selected.

First of all, Councilmember Brun is allowed his day in court.  While the news does indeed look very damning, there may or may not be more to the story.  More will no doubt be coming out very soon.

I will attempt a short answer here and expound on this no doubt in the coming days.

According to The Garden Island newspaper: 

“Kauai police arrested a Kauai County councilman Tuesday afternoon after he attempted to flee from police during a traffic stop.

Arthur Brun, 47, of Waimea, was arrested for resisting an order to stop a motor vehicle in the first degree and assault against a law enforcement officer in the first degree, according to a county press release.

According to a preliminary investigation, officers pulled over a dark tinted silver Honda sedan fronting the Lihue Post Office during a traffic stop. Police approached the driver when the driver fled with the vehicle, hitting the officer.

Police followed the vehicle to Kauai Beach Drive, where they successfully stopped and detained the driver. Brun was transported to Wilcox Medical Center for a medical evaluation, then brought to Police Cellblock where he remained Tuesday night. Bail has not yet been set.

The officer involved reported non-life threatening injuries. The investigation remains ongoing.”

This news broke overnight and needless to say, late into the evening I fielded many calls, texts and Facebook messages on this.

First of all, Councilmember Brun is allowed his day in court.  While the news does indeed look very damning, there may or may not be more to the story.  More will no doubt be coming out very soon.

Notes: 

Councilmember Brun presently Chairs the Parks/Recreation & Transportation Committee and is Vice-Chair of the Public Safety & Human Services Committee

According to Councilmember Bruns FaceBook profile he is currently employed by Hartung (formerly Syngenta) as their “Community Liaison”. 

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer

What happens next?  

It is my understanding that Councilmember Brun may be charged with a crime or crimes and then either be released on bail or held in jail if he cannot afford bail – pending a court appearance.  Then, it is up to the lawyers.  The Councilmember will have his defense lawyer and the County will be represented by Prosecutor, Justin Kollar.   Typically the Prosecutor will prosecute, and or strike a “plea deal” to lesser charges (avoiding the time, expense and uncertainty of a trial).

It is important to remember – the incidents reported are allegations of a crime/crimes and there has been no legal finding of guilt of any crime at this point.

Will Councilmember Brun be removed from office?  

Essential reading – Click here for a copy of the Kauai County Charter

My fairly quick read of the Kauai County Charter seems to indicate that Charter does not provide a provision allowing for the prompt or easy removal of a councilmember except for felony conviction or if the member does not reside in the county.  

There are provisions to remove any elected official via impeachment, but that requires a petition signed by 5% of voters registered in the last election (which means approximately 2,250 VERIFIED signatures) AND it requires petitioners to pay their own legal fees. There are also provisions allowing “recall” but this only applies to the Mayor and the Prosecutor.

The bottom line is that the removal of a councilmember is not easy, nor straightforward. The Council itself could propose and pass a Resolution demanding a councilmember resign.  The ethics commission could possibly pass a similar measure.

Relevant or mostly relevant and thus interesting sections of the Charter are here:

Section 3.04: “B. Any councilmember who removes said councilmember’s residence from the county or is convicted of a felony shall immediately forfeit the office.”

Section 3.07 “D. The council may, upon an affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of its entire membership, suspend without pay for not more than one month any member for disorderly or contemptuous behavior in its presence.” Note: This seems to apply to actions that occur only during a council meeting.

Section 23.13. Impeachment of Officers. Any officer appointed or elected may be impeached for malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance in office. Such impeachment proceeding shall be commenced in the Fifth Circuit Court, State of Hawai‘i. The charge or charges shall be set forth in writing in a verified petition for impeachment signed by not less than 5 percent of the voters registered in the last general election, except as to charges filed by the ethics board. If the court sustains the charge or charges, such officer shall be deemed removed from office. The petitioners seeking the impeachment shall bear their own attorneys’ fees and other costs of such proceedings, except proceedings initiated by the ethics board, the cost of which shall be paid by the county. 

Section 27.01. Recall Procedure. Any elected officer serving a four-year term as provided for in this charter may be removed from office by the voters of the county. The procedure to effect such removal shall be in accordance with this article. A petition demanding that the question of removing such official be submitted to the voters shall be filed with the county clerk. Such petitions shall be signed by currently registered voters numbering not less than 20 percent of the voters registered in the last general election. (Amended 1984)

If a councilmember is removed or resigns from office, how is his/her replacement selected?

Charter Section 3.05. Vacancy in Office. In the event a vacancy occurs in the council, the remaining members of the council shall appoint a successor with the required qualifications to fill the vacancy for the unexpired term. If the council is unable to fill a vacancy within thirty days after its occurrence, the mayor shall make the appointment to such vacancy.

The process that has occurred in the past involves the Council announcing the vacancy and accepting applications and conducting interviews. This is mostly done in private executive sessions.  At some point a majority of councilmembers (4) during the executive session will come to a general agreement on a certain individual, then a public and discussion will be held and a public vote taken. The issue of “the next highest vote-getter in the most recent election” being the preferred choice is not a rule nor required.  The only requirement is that whoever selected be able to obtain at least 4 council votes.

 

About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve now as a volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) www.hapahi.org I am also currently the Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In a past life, I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator and Majority Leader and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. Please visit my web site AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - http://www.garyhooser.com/#four “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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7 Responses to Breaking: Kauai Councilmember Arrested

  1. I would like to submit my resume for consideration for Bruns seat. I know with my experience I can be a solid Aloha councilman.

    Steve Monas

  2. garyhooser says:

    I will not be throwing my hat in, and doubt my son will either. The selection process is political. The successful candidate must get 4 of the existing councilmembers to vote for him/her. So…if you must get to know them, meet with them etc. You need 4 of them, out of the six, to believe that you are the best choice. How long have you lived on Kaua’i? What do you do now?

    • I have been on island for 10 years. I had closed my company after 10 years serving Paratransit customers. I have custody of my 3 young kids as of this past months and have been heavily into reading and immersed in understanding Aloha politics. My background is leadership and management. I live by the name of my last company Pono.

  3. Robert says:

    I would like to submit my intentions to take councilman Brun seat. I’m a certified alcoholic, have every intentions of increasing my pay and those of all council members (being a team player), and as for the police stopping me if I break the law … catch me if you can. Based on that I feel completely qualified for the position since I’am making this disclosure in advance, something councilman Brun should’ve done. Oh, by the way I am not a resident of Lihue but corruption being what it is … does that really matter?

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