By B.J. Reyes
In dealing with the special election for Honolulu mayor, City Council Chairman Todd Apo requested a Corporation Counsel opinion to determine whether Council Members Donovan Dela Cruz or Rod Tam had to resign in order to seek the mayor’s office.
It could potentially open up the possibility of having a candidate holding two offices simultaneously, if either were to go on to win the winner-take-all special election.
There is a corporation counsel opinion saying they don’t have to resign, which is actually different than what the position has been in the past. I don’t know what caused that change.
Thus, if one were to win, he would have to resign from the Council before being sworn in as mayor. The Council would then appoint a successor to fill out the remainder of the term, which expires Jan. 2.
The issue also arose over whether Councilman Gary Okino should have to resign in order to run against Rep. Blake Oshiro in the Democratic primary for the Halawa-Aiea House District seat. If Okino were to win in the primary and go on to victory in the November general election, he would take office before his Council term expires in January.
We asked Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago about it. He offered:
Attorney General Opinion 86-17, states that Article II, section 7, was never intended to apply to office holders whose successors would be elected at the same election in which they are candidates or another office. Accordingly, City Council member Okino is not required to resign to run for State House even though his term expires in January.