The state Attorney General’s office is turning to a private attorney who represented the University of Hawaii when it tried to implement its “last, best and final” contract offer on faculty in 2010 to help defend the state’s decision to implement a similar offer on teachers.
The AG has asked for a procurement exemption to pay $50,000 to Robert Katz, who the state says has unique expertise. Katz represented UH when it sought to implement a new contract after negotiations with faculty had stalled, a move challenged by the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly.
A court never decided whether UH had the right to implement the contract because the two sides reached a settlement.
Labor experts have said the state’s decision to implement its “last, best and final” offer on the Hawaii State Teachers Association could lead to a precedent-setting legal ruling.
The AG’s office, in its procurement exemption request on Monday, acknowledged the unique nature of the issue.
In our department’s memory, the only other time this issue was the center of a controversy was when UHPA sued the State (UH) and in that case Mr. Katz was the lead attorney representing the State.