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HHHRC Issues Statement on Honolulu Liquor Authority Report

HHHRC released the following statement on June 30 regarding a lengthy internal review of the Honolulu Liquor Commission’s enforcement division that was initiated by Managing Director Michael Formby. A federal civil rights lawsuit against the Commission is pending, with a former gay investigator alleging employment discrimination.

Here is the statement, which has been posted on HHHRC’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages:

Hawaiʻi Health & Harm Reduction Center (HHHRC) shares the deep concern of many in this city over the less-than-equitable enforcement of laws and rules by the Honolulu Liquor Authority.

Local businesses serving LGBTQ patrons, and those owned and operated by members of the LGBTQ community, historically have been subject to unequal treatment and intimidation by those who have held positions of public trust. Sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression are now protected categories under Hawaiʻi’s non-discrimination laws. HHHRC is also troubled by allegations of workplace discrimination within the Honolulu Liquor Authority.

HHHRC commends Managing Director Formby for initiating the Liquor Administration Enforcement Review, which recently released its Report of Findings & Recommendations. Among its findings were a “lack of clear policies, procedures and methodologies to guide enforcement practices,” a lack of reliable data to “ensure consistency and to monitor enforcement activities,” and a “lack of a system [to] track and investigate complaints against staff.”

The Honolulu Liquor Commission’s mission statement embraces “the highest levels of accountability and ethical standards” and refers to fair and equitable administration of state laws and commission rules. The Commission should work diligently to operate in a manner consistent with its mission.

Toward that end, HHHRC welcomes Mayor Blangiardi’s express commitment to “ensure the highest standards of transparency, accountability, and fairness” in the conduct of Honolulu’s public business.

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