Categorized | Government, News

Did a councilwoman just sue herself?

Karin Stanton/Hawaii247 Contributing Editor

Yup. South Kona Councilwoman Brenda Ford last week filed a lawsuit in Third Circuit Court against the County Council.

Of course, Ford is in her second term on that very governmental body. So, yes, she has just sued herself, but not for doing anything wrong. Just for clarification of part of the Sunshine Law. 

In a brief statement, Ford said she filed the suit “requesting a declaratory ruling on a narrowly defined issue clarifying the Sunshine Law and other HRS chapters on deadlines for filing and posting of items for committee, council and agendas.”

Ford declined to comment further, but the wording of her statement indicates she is simply seeking legal guidance on council procedures under state law.

Although she was not specific, Ford did publicly question the timing of a bill submitted to the council earlier this year, when the council was attempting to reorganize its leadership.

That move became the basis of a lawsuit filed by West Hawaii Today, alleging Sunshine Law violations in planning the reorganization.

The next hearing for the WHT lawsuit – which now has been amended to allege a pattern and practice of Sunshine violations including taking into account actions relating to the June 16 reorganization vote – is 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 15 in Circuit Judge Ronald Ibarra’s courtroom.

However, the original reorganization plan has been redrafted into one resolution and will be back before the council for a vote Wednesday, Oct. 7 in Kona. 

It is not clear whether that resolution might fall under the original lawsuit or whether it might trigger Ibarra’s original ruling voiding the first reorganization.

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