The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees continues to make headway in better serving its beneficiaries.
On March 28, 2019, OHA announced that its Board of Trustees had approved awarding $500,000 to 10 non-profit organizations under its pilot Kūlia Grants Program.Through this pilot program, OHA is providing smaller, one-year grant awards for projects that benefit the Native Hawaiian community and align with the agency’s broad strategic priorities of health, education, income and housing, land and water, and culture. OHA received a total of 81 applications with 51 eligible for review. The applications were reviewed by a team of external Native Hawaiian grant reviewers and scored on organizational capacity, scope of services, experience, project plan, service delivery and budget.
The Board of Trustees is also in the process of considering a revised allowance policy to address concerns raised by the State of Hawai‘i Office of the Auditor in its February 2018 report, Report No. 18-03 Audit of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.This revised Trustee allowance policy was considered and reported by the Committee on Resource Management and has gone through one of two required readings before the Board of Trustees.This revised policy would:
- Rename the allowance to the Trustee Protocol Allowance (TPA) to match the statutory language contained in Hawai‘i Revised Statutes § 10-9;
- Revert to the original purposes of the Trustee allowance – establishing a communication network and promoting a broader understanding and participation in the resolution of Native Hawaiian issues;
- Set the current level for the TPA at $7,200.00 per Trustee seat, which was the funding level prior to enactment of policy amendments in Action Item ARM #13-11;
- Make the TPA a reimbursable fund;
- Specify allowable and disallowable expenses; and
- Establish an appeal process when determinations made by the Administration disallows an expenditure.
Other important issues to note in this policy:
- Trustees will have access and be able to utilize TPA funds beginning July 1, 2019.
- The CEO shall be guided by the TPA policy to develop internal guidelines and procedures for the use and administration of the TPA, including reporting requirements, required documentation, and auditable record keeping.
- The budgeted TSAAF funds for FY2019, totaling $199,800($22,200 per Trustee seat), will remain under continued moratorium until the BOT decides how those remaining funds are to be reallocated in FY2019, or such TSAAF funds will lapse into fiscal reserve.
- The moratorium on the Trustee and CEO-initiated Sponsorships will remain in place.
Both the Kūlia Grants guidelines and the Trustee Protocol Allowance represent the work of the Board of Trustees’ Ad Hoc Committee on Grants and Sponsorships. This Ad Hoc Committee has done tremendous work in its review of policies and recommendations to the Board in response to the State Auditor’s report.
I am proud of the strides that OHA has made to better serve its beneficiaries and improve policies and overall transparency in response to the State Auditor.When the Trustee Protocol Allowance is approved, OHA will have partially or fully implemented all 39 of the recommendations outlined in State Auditor Report No. 18-03.
This review of policies has been an ongoing effort of OHA’s Administration and its Board of Trustees.These have been well-vetted internally and externally.I remain committed to this process and to our continued betterment of the conditions of our lāhui. Any claims that OHA is not moving forward is misinformed and irresponsible.I look forward to great things to come from OHA.
E onipa‘a kākou!