`Ano`ai kakou… Happy Year of the Snake! Now that the elections are over and our new Board of Trustees is in place I continue to hope that there will be changes at OHA to make things better here for everyone.
GET MORE TRUSTEES INVOLVED
I believe that being a trustee is not about simply showing up at a few monthly meetings. OHA cannot afford to maintain a system which encourages passive trustees, as we have experienced in the past.
Currently, there are only two subject-matter committees under the Board of Trustees: (1) The Asset & Resource Management Committee which oversees all of OHA’s fiscal, policy, economic development, and administrative matters, and (2) The Beneficiary Advocacy and Empowerment Committee, which has responsibility over all federal and state legislation, on-going programs in health, housing, education, land, and the Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund.
The problem is that each committee is too broad in scope and can easily become overwhelmed. I’m hopeful that the two committees will form “Ad Hoc” sub-committees to allow other Trustees to concentrate on more specific issues such as land, policy & planning, program management, legislative & government affairs, and budget & finance. Creating sub-committees will get more Trustees actively involved and ensure less things “fall through the cracks.”
BRING BACK OHA-RUN PROGRAMS
Today, OHA mostly operates like a charitable foundation that hands out grants. Most of the successful OHA-run programs, like Aha ‘Opio and Aha Kupuna, which took years of hard work by past trustees to develop, have been contracted out or quietly discontinued. While farming work out to nonprofits is appropriate in some cases, I believe OHA has gone too far.
I believe that OHA should do much more for our beneficiaries in terms of programs and services. Grants are ineffective in solving long-term problems since grant monies eventually run out. Even successful services end up getting cut if they can’t raise any money. That’s why we need on-going OHA programs that are closely monitored by the trustees.
Despite many requests, OHA meetings are not televised like the City Council or the State Legislature. Cost has always been an issue, but with today’s technology, it shouldn’t cost that much – Olelo and YouTube are free! Broadcasting our meetings would make Trustees more accessible and keep us honest.
NEW LEGISLATIVE SESSION
Congratulations to State Senators Malama Solomon and Clayton Hee, two former OHA trustees, on their re-election. OHA continues to have two legislators it can count on in the State Senate. Let us hope that we can have another successful session and get more things done for our beneficiaries. Aloha Ke Akua.