Keith Regan is running for Maui County Council, representing Wailuku, Waihee, and Waikapu. Joe Kent interviewed him after the Candidates Forum in Kula as a part of The Grassroot Institute with Keli’i Akina, a radio show on KAOI 1110AM Maui.
Joe: “On Maui we have a mayor and we have a county council, and now there’s talk of retooling that to have different systems, potentially even giving the mayor less power or even getting rid of him. What is your view on that issue?”
Keith: “Having worked in government for many years, the first question that I always ask before making any wholesale change: What’s broken? What do we have to fix? Can we articulate that? And I haven’t quite gotten that answer yet. What I have heard though, is that there’s concern about qualifications. Qualifications for directors that are leading major departments, as well as the managing director. I believe that that’s the first place we should start. If it is, in fact, the qualification of the directors, let’s put that into the charter. Let’s make these job descriptions part of that process so that we get qualified people.”
Joe: “You’re saying that, if the issue is efficiency, deal with efficiency rather than big, sweeping changes.”
Keith: “Yeah, I really believe that the legislative branch of government and the executive branch of government need to be separate. Legislators should legislate and not try to manage.”
Joe: “So there’s a ‘checks and balances’ issue there as well.”
Keith: “Exactly. I really believe that part of this process is discussion, debate, and deliberation. You need to have that, that’s part of democracy. Imagine if we had a national system where we had a national manager, and now all of the sudden it’s just congress making these decisions; what kind of wold would we live in? Apply that on a local level, it’s the same thing. The mayor proposes, the council deliberates and decides. The council hold the purse strings, they’re the ones that say how much money you can use. They’re also the ones that should be looking at things like performance measurements so that we can encourage more efficiency in government. If in fact efficiency is a big question mark, then let’s put it on the table. Let’s have metrics in place that determine whether or not we’re running the county to the best of our ability.”
Listen to the full interview here: