`Ano`ai kakou… As a senior Trustee, I have managed to live through some very difficult times within the walls of OHA over the past 23-and-a-half years. As Trustee and staff members come and go, it never fails to amaze me about how they both come into our institution thinking that OHA began with them and they try to re-invent the wheel. They didn’t bother to learn OHA’s history and the difficult ground we had to cover over the past 30-years to be where we are today.
SCHEMES TO STIFLE TRUSTEES
Like other political offices, when some Trustees take over the power structure here, they manage to bring their “own” people into the organization and place them in strategic places throughout our offices, like the fiscal department, the legal office, and so on. Consequently, even when they are no longer in the “driver’s seat,” they can still control the board through these staff. This has become a debilitating factor for OHA Trustees who want to do their best to manage the Trust since these staff members who are loyal to just a few Trustees can put up stiff opposition almost at every turn.
Now, we can’t write anything specific about what goes on within the offices of OHA. A Trustee is prevented from printing their columns in our newspaper because OHA’s “legal eager beavers,” who want to please those who keep them employed here, will find every excuse to stifle a Trustee and prevent them from talking about things that go on here.
OHA’s leadership will also go so far as to pass a specific policy to stop certain Trustees from calling attention to something they don’t want the public to know. The kicker is, in my opinion, those rules are made up by lawyers who work for us, but are loyal to only a few Trustees. This strategy works against Trustees in the minority who usually do not agree with the power structure.
Another trick is to put items on the agenda in an executive session instead of open session, thereby excluding the general public from listening to the discussion. If this isn’t enough, they further silence the Trustees by telling them that they can’t speak about what was discussed, and then they lock-up the minutes, so that even the Trustees do not have ready access to them.
Even when a super majority of six Trustees vote and approve a money appropriation, the staff members are prevented from acting on the action because they are being instructed to throw up road blocks and make excuses to slow the process or prevent it from happening at all.
For a very long time now, OHA has not been able to really function as a Trust. It has become a political entity, where power is more important than fulfilling our mission to better the conditions of OHA beneficiaries. You might say OHA looks more and more like the dysfunctional Congress.
Until the public elects people to the board who truly want to serve OHA’s mission and who have the best interests of the Trust and our beneficiaries in their heart, OHA will continue to function at half-speed instead of full-speed ahead.