Sunshine Memo 10-5
Serial Discussion of Board Leadership
Requesters asked OIP whether a series of discussions
about leadership among Hawaii County Council members, prior to the
meeting held June 16, 2009, violated the Sunshine Law.
OIP found that a majority of Hawaii County Council
members discussed leadership through a series of interconnected
conversations. This serial discussion was not permitted by, and
thus violated, the Sunshine Law.
The Sunshine Law limits the number of board members
who may privately discuss board leadership to a number less than
a quorum. HRS § 92-2.5(c). A board cannot by serial communications
avoid this limitation. Right to Know Committee v. City Council,
City and County of Honolulu, 117 Haw. 1, 12-13 (Haw. App. 2007);
HRS § 92-2.5(c); OIP Op. Ltr. No. 05-15. Because a majority
of the Council’s members were involved in the serial discussion
of board leadership, the discussion was not permitted under the
Sunshine Law. See id.
OIP believes that the involvement of a majority of
Council members in the serial discussion occurred because the members
were not mindful to the possibility of serial communications, rather
than because of a deliberate strategy to circumvent the Sunshine