Kauai OKs official's testimony as private citizen

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) - The chairman of the Kauai Planning Commission has been given permission to testify before the county council on behalf of the company he works for.

The Garden Island reports Councilman Gary Hooser formally requested that Wayne Katayama appear at a council meeting to answer questions about the effect of a bill on his employers, Kauai Coffee.

The bill proposes buffer zones around large agricultural operations, disclosure of pesticide use and disclosure of genetically modified crops.

Katayama is president and general manager of Kauai Coffee. He's also chairman of the planning commission.

The Kauai County Charter prohibits an "officer or employee" from appearing on behalf of private interests before any county board.

Katayama asked for a ruling. The county Board of Ethics voted Tuesday to allow Katayama to testify.

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