A technical issue prompted the delay of a slate of Hawaii County Council committees Tuesday.
Glynis Yamada, who works in the County Clerk’s Office, said the source of the problem, which prevented the committees from being able to use video teleconferencing, was hardware in the county’s media room in Hilo. Yamada said the system was working again Tuesday and should be operational for today’s full council meeting.
Consultant Jeff Haun, of Out of the Sea Media Arts, said county information technology employees and Hawaiian Telcom workers tried various ways to fix the problem. He said he did not know exactly what the issue behind the connectivity problems was.
The council members attempted to carry on with the meeting at the West Hawaii Civic Center, starting the first committee hearing about an hour late, via telephone. But the makeshift system — a speaker placed next to a telephone on speakerphone mode — didn’t create clear enough sound for the four councilmen attending the meeting in Hilo to hear.
Over Ka‘u Councilwoman Brittany Smart’s protests, the committee voted to postpone the agenda until Sept. 5.
Smart initially wanted to postpone the agenda, on which she has proposed amendments to the rules governing the council’s grants to nonprofits, until Thursday.
Council Chairman Dominic Yagong said he consulted with the Office of Information Practices, which oversees governmental bodies’ adherence to meeting advertising and notification requirements. OIP officials advised Yagong the council could make one announcement that the remainder of the agenda items would be postponed until the next regularly scheduled committee hearings on Sept. 5.
Yagong said he hadn’t been notified about the nature of the problem that caused Tuesday’s postponement.
The council cut back on West Hawaii meetings at the end of last year while trying to get contractors to finish the audio-visual system at the civic center.
Yagong said that issue has still not been resolved. The county still relies on a travel audio/visual setup when it meets in West Hawaii.
Yagong said the unresolved video teleconference issues are not costing taxpayers any additional money in consultant fees or change orders.
In December, he told West Hawaii Today the continued use of the travel system had cost the county about $6,000 in consulting fees.
Rescheduling Tuesday’s meetings to the day of an already scheduled meeting doesn’t cost the county extra, Yagong said.