APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE THIRD CIRCUIT. CIVIL NO. 13-1-115.
On the briefs: Ted H.S. Hong, for Appellant/Appellee/Cross-Appellant.
Kimberly Tsumoto Guidry, First Deputy Solicitor General for Appellee/Appellant/Cross-Appellee.
NAKAMURA, C.J., FOLEY AND REIFURTH, JJ.
[136 Hawai'i 142]
Appellee/Appellant/Cross-Appellee Hawaii State Ethics Commission (Commission) and Appellant/Appellee/Cross-Appellant William Eric Boyd (Boyd) both appeal from the " Decision and Order Affirming In Part And Reversing In Part Hawaii State Ethics Commission's Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law And Decision And Order" (Order) entered October 7, 2013 in the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit (circuit court).
This is a secondary appeal from the circuit court's review of the Commission's " Findings Of Fact, Conclusions Of Law, And Decision [136 Hawai'i 143] And Order" (FOF/COL), entered February 8, 2013, that found Boyd guilty of violating the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) chapter 84's Code of Ethics (Code of Ethics) violations. On appeal, the Commission contends the circuit court erred in reversing in part its FOF/COL, holding that Boyd was guilty of violating HRS § 84-14(d) (2012 Repl.) (Counts 10-20). On cross-appeal, Boyd contends the circuit court erred in affirming in part the Commission's FOF/COL because (1) the Commission lacked appellate jurisdiction to bring charges against Boyd because Boyd was not a State employee; (2) the State violated its own procedural rules so as to violate Boyd's constitutional due process protections; (3) the Commission was not a fair and impartial tribunal so as to violate Boyd's constitutional due process protections; (4) the Commission failed to prove that Boyd violated HRS § 84-14 (a) (Counts 1-9); and (5) the Commission's overall actions were arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion.
A. Purchase of School Materials
Boyd was an Administrative Assistant at Connections New Century Public Charter School (Connections), a public charter school created pursuant to HRS chapter 302B. As an employee of Connections, Boyd was authorized to submit purchase order forms requesting that Connections purchase school materials.
Connections utilized a purchase procedure to obtain supplies, material, and equipment for the school, which included use of a form the school developed for purchase requests (purchase order form). The purchase order form identified (a) the name and title of the individual making the request (requestor); (b) the name, address, and telephone number of the individual or entity from whom the materials could be purchased (vendor); (c) the school materials desired, including the quantity and pricing; and (d) the name of the individual approving the request. The requestor would enter the vendor's name, address, and telephone number on the purchase order form, then submit the purchase order form to an authorized Connections official for approval. Connection's Principal, John Thatcher (Principal Thatcher), had the final authority for approval of all purchase requests. If Principal Thatcher was unavailable, Boyd was authorized to preliminarily approve purchase orders, but all of Boyd's approvals were subject to final approval by Principal Thatcher, as indicated by Principal Thatcher's initials or signature on the purchase order form. The approval process also requires someone check the school's inventory to make sure the school did not have the requested material, check with vendors to find the best prices for the requested materials, and have the " Title 1 Coordinator" review and approve the order, if the purchase involved the use of Title 1 funds.
On September 12, 2006, February 9, 2007, April 2, 2007, May 8, 2007, and June 29, 2007, Boyd prepared, signed as " Requestor," and/or approved various Connections purchase order forms to purchase school materials for the school.
On certain of the aforementioned purchase order forms, Boyd wrote his wife's name, Erika Boyd (Erika), as the requestor and also identified Erika as the vendor by writing her name on the line captioned " Payable to:" . On two of the purchase order forms, Principal Thatcher approved of the purchase order by signing on the line captioned " Approved." On all other forms, Boyd approved the purchase order and Principal Thatcher subsequently initialed the purchase order form to indicate his final approval. The school materials referenced on all purchase order forms were sold to ...