Thursday, June 18, 2020
*The Board did not meet at a physical location. As part of the response to the threat of COVID-19, Governor David Ige issued a Ninth Supplementary Proclamation dated June 10, 2020, suspending Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 92, Public Agency Meetings and Records, to the extent necessary to enable boards as defined in Section 92-2, to conduct meetings without any board members or members of the public physically present in the same location, among other things.

Dwight Takeno, Committee Chairperson
Kaimana Barcarse, Committee Vice Chairperson
Margaret Cox
Kili Namauʻu
Catherine Payne
Kenneth Uemura
Bruce Voss, Esq.

Brian De Lima, Esq.

Christina Kishimoto, Superintendent
Brian Hallett, Interim Assistant Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer, Office of Fiscal Services
Alison Kunishige, Executive Director
Kenyon Tam, Board Analyst
Regina Pascua, Executive Secretary
Irina Dana, Secretary

I. Call to Order

Human Resources Committee (“Committee”) Chairperson Dwight Takeno stated that the Board of Education (“Board”) would be holding virtual meetings until further notice. He noted that the public could still call in or log on to listen to Board and Committee meetings live. He stated that the live broadcast is audio only for both Board members and the public. He noted that an image of the agenda will be shared on the screen, but that video of Board members and presenters would not be broadcast to reduce the amount of bandwidth that the meeting takes up and to preserve the quality of the audio.

The Committee meeting was called to order by Committee Chairperson Takeno at 12:33 p.m.

II. Public testimony on Human Resources Committee (“Committee”) agenda items Committee Chairperson Takeno called for public testimony. There was no public testimony at this time.

Written testimony was also received and provided to the Committee members. The following is a listing of the people that submitted written testimony before the testimony deadline.

Agenda Item
Martha Guinan, Ivalee SinclairSpecial Education Advisory Council IV.A. Committee Action on recommendation concerning appointment of Assistant Superintendent of the Office of Fiscal ServicesSupport

III. Approval of Meeting Minutes of February 20, 2020

Committee Chairperson Takeno asked Committee members to review the minutes of the February 20, 2020 Human Resources Committee Meeting.

Committee Member Kenneth Uemura moved to approve the Human Resources Committee Meeting minutes of February 20, 2020. Committee Vice Chairperson Kaimana Barcarse seconded.

Committee Chairperson Takeno called for a roll call vote on the motion. The motion carried unanimously with all members present (Committee Vice Chairperson Barcarse, Committee Members Cox, Namauʻu, Payne, Uemura, and Voss) voting aye.

ACTION: Motion to approve the Human Resources Committee Meeting minutes of February 20, 2020 (Uemura/Barcarse). The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.

IV. Recommendation for Action

Christina Kishimoto, Superintendent, introduced Brian Hallett, Interim Assistant Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”), Office of Fiscal Services (“OFS”). She stated that the Department of Education (“Department”) is recommending that the Committee approve the appointment of Hallett to Assistant Superintendent of OFS.

Kishimoto highlighted that Hallett has served in the Department for 15 years, including as Director of the Budget Branch. She further highlighted that he has extensive experience working with legislators. Kishimoto detailed that she had asked Hallett to step into the interim position a year ago, which provided her with a year to review the position while advancing OFS’s work. She stated that her direction to Hallett was that she wanted his leadership to improve support to schools, overlay an equity lens to the Department’s budget, and make improvement recommendations. She highlighted that he has delivered within the past year. Kishimoto detailed that she vetted internal and external candidates in the past year and had confidential conversations with Committee Chairperson Uemura regarding the talent and competencies necessary for this position. She stated that she wanted to ensure that the Department’s recommended candidate was committed to education, understood responsibilities to equity, and would commit to serving long-term with visionary leadership. She highlighted that the Department needed to identify an individual who could communicate and collaborate with the Board and Legislature while not being afraid to interrupt and replace antiquated systems and practices impeding the Department’s work. Kishimoto asked for the Committee’s support in the permanent appointment of Hallett to the position of Assistant Superintendent and CFO of OFS.

Kishimoto stated that she expects Hallett to advise the Department on significant fiscal decisions, policies, and best practices designed around supporting school models. She also expects Hallett to create fiscal models to ensure equity of access, improve monitoring systems, manage the Department’s budget, and ensure fiscal controls. She stated that the expectation is that Hallett will work closely with Board and committee chairs and will represent the Department’s mission, vision, and strategy at the Legislature. Kishimoto stated that the Department is committed to Hallett’s continued professional growth and highlighted his networking experiences with quality, national organizations. She stated that he continues to grow his expertise and practice and will continue sharing Hawaii’s best practices with the rest of the nation. Kishimoto stated that Hallett meets all of the experience and educational requirements of the position through a combination of his college degrees and quality, ongoing professional development.

Hallett expressed appreciation for the Department’s recommendation and the Committee’s consideration. He detailed that OFS is comprised of five distinct programs. The first is budget, which helps to develop and distribute funds. The second is procurement, which helps schools and offices navigate contracting and other procurement requirements. The third is operations, which processes transactions for payroll and vendor payments and supports the entry of time and leave records. The fourth is accounting, which records and reports expenditures. The fifth is the Office of Hawaii Child Nutrition Programs, which is an attached agency responsible for administering U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, including national school lunch programs. Hallett detailed that an administrator or director leads each area and highlighted that each team is comprised of dedicated individuals.

Hallett stated that his resume shows the nature of his work and volunteer experience. However, his resume does not show his investment in his continued education. Hallett detailed the major components of his formal professional development. He stated that he served in an interim capacity over the past 11 months and received feedback from Kishimoto regarding executive leadership and strategic vision. Hallett highlighted that he took advantage of opportunities to participate in the Council of the Great City Schools CFO program and met with CFOs from across the nation. He detailed that he participated in a three-day visit with a team of active and retired CFOs where he reviewed the Department’s operations and also participated in a multiday conference in which CFOs from the largest urban school districts shared and discussed best practices and aspects of financial management, including accounting, budgets, procurement, and audits. Hallett highlighted that his participation provided him with access and input on various issues, such as the Department’s accounting system replacement, financial management system modernization, and publications.

Hallett detailed his membership with the Government Finance Officers Association (“GFOA”) and highlighted that he has attended in-person and online trainings regarding budget monitoring, budget best practices, and enterprise resource planning system acquisitions. He stated that his biggest takeaway was GFOA’s code of ethics which aligns with the Department’s values and mission and is rooted in the importance of building trust and serving communities. He highlighted that he shared GFOA’s code of ethics with OFS and communicated the importance of alignment. Hallett detailed that as a budget execution administrator, he attended annual conferences held by the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools in which he received training on various topics, such as nuances of the impact aid program, effective communication with members of congress, federal legislation and rules, and economic forecasting. As a legislative staff member, he attended annual trainings and conferences held by the National Association of Legislative Fiscal Offices regarding how to support decision-makers with fiscal research, data, and analysis. Hallett highlighted that he has volunteered for the credit union supervisory committee for the past eight years and attended multiday trainings and conferences regarding fraud detection, risk management, and economic forecasting. He detailed that he has also participated in local seminars and training opportunities.

Hallett stated that if the Committee were to approve his appointment, he would continue to support schools, advance the Department’s equity agenda, and earn and maintain trust in the Department’s fiscal management by demonstrating honesty, fairness, inclusion, reliability, and consistency. He stated that he is committed to continuing his professional development in support of the Department.

Committee Member Uemura moved to approve the appointment of Brian Hallett as Assistant Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer of the Office of Fiscal Services. Committee Vice Chairperson Barcarse seconded.

Committee Member Uemura expressed appreciation for Hallett and Kishimoto’s support of Hallett. He noted that he had concerns regarding Hallett’s alignment with the position description, educational requirements, and knowledge competencies. However, Hallett and Kishimoto eased his concerns by detailing Hallett’s continuing education and participation in various associations. He noted that OFS is comprised of staff members with experience and knowledge of accounting principles who could provide Hallett with support. Committee Member Uemura commented that in previous discussions, Kishimoto stated that she would continue to support Hallett in his development. He stated that Hallett has served in an interim capacity for a year and understands the requirements of the position. He highlighted that he has the potential to help both the Department and the Board and its committees.

Committee Member Bruce Voss expressed appreciation for the Department’s recent fiscal reports to the Board and highlighted that these reports were concise. He noted that the Department frequently provides the Board with financial information, but members of the public sometimes comment that they do not understand the Department’s reports. He stated that the public has a difficult time understanding the Department’s budget codes, line items, and how the Department allocates funds. He noted that misunderstanding leads to confusion regarding administrative costs versus school-level allocations. He asked how the Department plans to craft its financial reports so that the public has an easier time understanding the information.

Hallett commented that the Department tries to refer members of the public to the Department’s budget website. He noted that the Department makes great efforts and attempts to explain fiscal systems, structures, and organization. He stated that he understands that transparency is more than just providing data and emphasized that transparency also means ensuring that data is accessible and understandable. Hallett stated that there is no single solution to address concerns given the Department’s size and complexity. However, the Department is committed to engaging, meeting, training, discussing its materials, and striving to make its reports more accessible. He highlighted that the Department is open to input and suggestions.

Hallett detailed that the Department has focused on per-pupil expenditure reporting in recent years and continues to evolve in this area. He highlighted that the Department is working on data visualization and graphical representation to ensure that information is more accessible and easier to digest. He noted that OFS is working with the Office of Strategy, Innovation and Performance on this project and hopes to present reports that better meet needs within the next few months. Hallett emphasized that he shares concerns regarding transparency.

Committee Chairperson Takeno stated that he is optimistic about Hallett’s continued success and believes in his ability to lead the Department.

Committee Chairperson Takeno called for a roll call vote on the motion. The motion carried unanimously with all members present (Committee Vice Chairperson Barcarse, Committee Members Cox, Namauʻu, Payne, Uemura, and Voss) voting aye.

ACTION: Motion to approve the appointment of Brian Hallett as Assistant Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer of the Office of Fiscal Services (Uemura/Barcarse). The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.

V. Adjournment

Committee Chairperson Takeno adjourned the meeting at 12:58 p.m.