Contract delays sidelined investigators crucial to quarantine enforcement

Updated: May. 23, 2020 at 5:17 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Investigators with the Attorney General’s office have played a major role in the arrests of out-of-state visitors who violate the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement.

But Hawaii News Now has learned that some of the AG’s investigators have been sidelined for more than a week due to bureaucratic delays. These investigators are employed under 89-day contracts, which Gov. David Ige’s administration did not immediately renew when they lapsed.

“We really need those investigators ... We want to sent a message that violations of the quarantine will not be tolerated,” said state Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

“Our concern was that we’re really trying to enforce this quarantine, and really be tough on the quarantine. Any break in law enforcement is going to allow some people through the system."

According the AG’s office, four investigators were out seven work of days while three others were out two days. All are back to work.

Besides the visitor quarantine investigators, some of the contract hires who maintain and the state’s sex offender registry were also sidelined.

“We had asked the administration about the investigators who were on 89-day contracts and the Chief of Staff said it was on her desk," Dela Cruz said.

Governor Ige’s Chief of Staff Linda Chu Takayama did finally approve the contract renewals earlier this week. But when we asked why the delays, we didn’t get a response.

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