Mayor urges commission to brief City Council on police chief payout

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says the police commission should brief City Council members before approving a planned payout for Police Chief Louis Kealoha, who is retiring under pressure.

Speaking for the first time since Hawaii News Now broke the news about the secret deal, Caldwell said he has no knowledge and no ability to weigh in on the payout.

He added, "They (council members) have every right to know what the terms are and get an explanation from the employing authority, in the case now it would be the police commission."

Kealoha has been on paid leave since receiving an FBI target letter in mid-December, notifying him that he is a suspect in a public corruption case.

The Honolulu Police Commission announced Friday that he would retire, but did not say that the body had agreed to a payout deal.

The payoff would be just over $250,000, according to sources, and that's in addition to a retirement benefits package would already pay him $150,000 a year.  Under state law he is also entitled to free medical care.

Caldwell told Hawaii News Now on Wednesday that the commission should delay approval of the deal if it's not good for taxpayers. The approval vote is expected to take place on Jan.18.

"I don't want to speculate to the money and if he's getting any additional money," he said.

Council members Kymberly Marcos Pine and Ernie Martin have suggested an emergency, executive session for the council to be briefed by Police Commission Chair Max Sword. On Tuesday, Sword was grilled about the deal at the City Council, but provided no information.

Councilman Ron Menor would be the one to call for the emergency session, but so far hasn't.

Former Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle said one of the county leaders should take some kind of action because a payout would come from the police budget.

"it should be very obvious to everybody that this is a matter of public safety," he said. "As mayor you do have control in terms of the budget over the police department and this is an extremely large amount of money."

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