Conflict arises between Caldwell administration, Ozawa at budget hearing

Conflict arises between Caldwell administration, Ozawa at budget hearing
Trevor Ozawa (left), Roy Amemiya (right) (Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Conflict arose Tuesday between members of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell's cabinet and the new budget committee chair Trevor Ozawa.

Caldwell told Hawaii News Now that all his administrators waited around all afternoon and were not given an opportunity to explain his budget.

He said all his cabinet members were waiting in his office to testify before the committee now chaired by Ozawa, an outspoken critic of the mayor.

By lunchtime, only a few members testified, while everyone else was still waiting in his office.

Managing Director Roy Amemiya told Ozawa about this and asked if he could have a timeline of when the department heads would be needed so they're ready and not just sitting around.

"I have a room full of department heads and staff up in the mayor's conference room awaiting their turn," Amemiya said. "Maybe you can give us an idea as to what order you're anticipating them to come up here because I'd hate to have them watching the television the whole time."

Ozawa responded, "Thank you for that. Continue."

Then Amemiya said, "Is there a schedule?"

"Well, we're going to start with you and the mayor, then we're going to take a break. Then we'll provide more clarification after the break, but it's based on the amount of stuff that we receive from your department as well," Ozawa said.

Caldwell said when committee members got back from that break, Ozawa dismissed everyone except the Honolulu rail authority and prosecutor's office.

Ozawa explained that budget meetings usually last several days. And they were scheduled last week and the week before that. But they were all canceled as the City Council underwent a leadership shakeup.

This story may be updated.

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