Meeting Time: November 05, 2020 at 9:00am HST

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    kurt higa over 3 years ago

    November 4, 2020

    To whom it may concern,

    I am Kurt R. Higa, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and owner of Anytime Fitness Wailuku. I know Don Guzman and I understand the circumstances of this hearing.

    I have been a friend of Don and his family for more than three years. I coach and train Don’s children, Reese and Nealon. More recently, I have been training Don as well. Through these years I have got to know the Don on a personal basis. Enough to call him my friend. A term that I do not use loosely. I have always followed the rule of, “surrounding yourself with good people”. Don is good people. Although our friendship is short and compared to my existence. I feel that I’ve gained an intimate insight of the person he is.

    As a trainer and coach, we are very involved with our clients and vicariously live their lives with them. We are not only their trainer and coach but their friend, mentor, confidant and at many times their psychologist. We gain an insight into their lives that most people don’t get to see.

    Don is an honest and good man, who has a strong positive personality and a positive outlook on life. Never during our time together has he talked negatively about anyone. Even with his health struggles, that could easily bring someone down. Don has kept to his positive outlook and continues to be great role model. And he continued to dedicate his life to working hard professionally and more importantly, works hard at loving his family.

    I am very fortunate to have my view of Don reinforced by listening to how his children talk about him. I am a father of three and nothing makes me prouder than knowing that my children love and respect me. Don’s children love, adore and respect him. They understand that he works long hours, but it is done for them. They also look forward to their family time of playing golf, basketball and camping. Time that they cherish, giving the current pandemic we are living in.

    In conclusion, Don is a honest man of integrity and loyalty. One who dedicates his life to serving the public and his family. We are lucky to have this type of person in our community. One who has his priorities straight and one who is not willing to sacrifice integrity over personal gain. A rare personality trait nowadays. This is why I consider Don Guzman my friend.

    Kurt R. Higa

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    Maui Employee over 3 years ago

    I oppose the removal of Don Guzman.

    I am a current employee with the prosecutors office and have had only positive experiences with Don. He is kind, fair and competent.

    I am unaware of his "violation of county policy" but it was quite surprising on 10/22 when our entire office was blind copied in an email from the Mayor notifying us of his of his request to have Don removed.

    Thank You,

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    John Fitzpatrick over 3 years ago

    Aloha Honorable Council Members,

    I am writing in support of the Prosecuting Attorney Don Guzman. I strongly oppose the removal of Don Guzman from the prosecuting Attorney position because he is a man of integrity, honesty, passion, and has a good moral backbone that he can be proud of. Don Guzman fights for what is right and not politically expedient.

    I do not know the details of the incident the mayor is trying to remove Mr. Guzman but I do know that if he saw something wrong and unethical he would be passionate in the way he defended justice, ethics, and morality. I do know we are in unprecedented times dealing with a pandemic and Mr. Guzman advocated for the safety of his employees in the prosecutors office while their were two positive cases and the mayor denied a temporary shutdown of the prosecutors office and kept his staff at high risk.

    I appreciate the leadership of Mr. Guzman in advocating for his employees health and safety, expanding the division that helps victims with domestic violence and sexual assault to name a few. He has also advocated for more space for his employees so they do have safer working conditions and I appreciate the council for providing much needed funding in order to do this.

    Because I know Don as a nice, caring, friendly, passionate, and loving community member, I strongly appose the removal of him as prosecuting attorney and I hope the council rejects the mayors unjustified unilateral actions of removing our Prosecuting Attorney Don Guzman.

    John Fitzpatrick

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    Kanani Higbee over 3 years ago

    Aloha Councilmember Molina and Ethics Committee:

    I, Kanani Higbee, am in support of removal of Don Guzman from his position of Prosecuting Attorney. I am a special education paraprofessional educator at Lahainaluna Highschool. I have worked for the county of Maui as a lifeguard and a PALS director and leader. I do a lot of volunteer work as I am a coadvisor for Best Buddies and Hui Hookuleana Honua clubs at Lahainaluna High school.

    The reason I feel Don Guzman needs to be removed from his position as prosecuting attorney is because he caused a lot of harm to me and my two daughters in order to advance his career. He allowed a meth lab manufacturer and drug distributor to operate right above my apartment for years. Don Guzman protected that meth lab manufacturer by allowing him to get a TRO against me. Don Guzman didn’t like my calls to police and fire when meth fumes would come inside my windows from the meth lab manufacturer and become toxic to my kids. Whenever I stepped foot outside my apartment, the meth lab manufacturer would call the cops and they would write me up for violation of TRO. They said I violated TRO when I took the trash out, watered the garden, walked my daughter to her grandmas, and called the cops when my neighbor pierced 3 of my car tires. Then the prosecutors had Maui Police ask me systematically racist questions. They asked me when was the last time I smoked meth. And they said who was my meth dealer. I told them I don’t do that. I am a single mom of my kids advocating for meth to be out of my neighborhood. But Don Guzman didn’t care about us or our neighbors. Most prosecuting attorneys will balance the community’s safety with their drive to build cases. So they are not marginalizing the community. Instead, Don Guzman completely marginalized my neighborhood. He didn’t care that the neighbors shared a wall with families and were at risk of blowing up at any time. He didn’t care that our neighborhood had become unsafe because the meth lab was there, we had men walking through our kids park with machetes, rows of our cars in the parking lot were vandalized and broken into, our kids park had people committing sex crimes and masturbating in public, we had prime suspect of a murder coming up the staircase— the same staircase little girls would play hide and go seek. I had to tell their mon to not allow it because too unsafe. We had muggings to little old ladies and the culprit ran to the meth lab and cops had to look in all the apartments looking for him.

    The sad thing is that Don Guzman had the power to shut it down early on, but refused. Maui cops charged that neighbor with a drug possession charge and Don Guzman only had to convict him and he wouldn’t be allowed to live there. But Don Guzman had other plans. He was so adamant about advancing his career that he didn’t care what he did to my neighborhood and the good people living here.

    He put me on probation for a year. I never had a criminal record until what he did to me. And one of the requirements was to see a therapist. I was mandated to see a therapist. Well, because I was in the system, these therapist did unimaginable horrors to me. They talked bad about Native Hawaiians. I had to sit there while they told me horrible things. That Native Hawaiians are criminals and that is why they have to be in prison. That they need to assimilate. That they do it to themselves. And they are lazy. Ans they are dramatic to complain when they live in paradise. Every time I saw a new therapist, the did horrible things like that. I complained to the probation officer and he didn’t care. I told him how horrible the therapists were and how bad the cops treated me and how bad Don Guzman and the prosecutors were. The next day, my daughter’s cat was tortured and murdered to death. She didn’t deserve that. I tried to get Maui Police to investigate, but they covered up the crime and claimed the cat did it to themselves. They pleaded with me to not call Maui Humane about it.

    I received a lot of vindication from Don Guzman and his good ole boy’s club. I was harassed by a maui law enforcement officer in my advocating class I was taking. He harassed me in class then followed me by car after class regularly until I drove in circles and he would stop.

    It didn’t matter when I was sexually assaulted in surgery a year ago, Don Guzman refused to take the case. He didn’t care about women. The police victimblamed me for getting surgery. They said I shouldn’t have gotten surgery for a broken finger— but my finger was broken in 3 spots and flipped around on my hand— my dominant hand. A student fell on me and broke my finger at the school I worked at. The prosecutors wouldn’t take the case when I told cops that I was sexually assaulted in surgery. Instead the sergeant told me to hire an attorney.

    Don Guzman doesn’t care about people who are of lower socioeconomic status. My family has not been able to reap the benefits of generational wealth when Hawaiian Home Commission Act is not being honored in a timely manner like it’s supposed to because it’s written in there. Instead my family has died on the list. If it was honored, my family would not have to live where we lived and get marginalized by Don Guzman. Maui police sergeant told me the drugdealer’s need to go somewhere. But he makes a decent living because he works in a field that is male dominant and therefore he gets paid a decent wage and can move from these neighborhoods if he wants. I, on the other hand, work in a female dominat career, and we are historically viewed as only supplementing the family income and not viewed as the breadwinner like men are. We don’t get paid enough to move to a safer neighborhood. Don Guzman does not take any of these socioeconomic issues into account when he dumps drugdealers in our neighborhoods and just builds cases. My neighbor lived in a house in a field before he moved to my apartment complex and after. Both of those places would have been a lot safer to build a case than a crowded apartment building.

    Basically, Don Guzman only cares to advance his career. And doesn’t care who he’s marginalizing in the process. He only would care if he were of higher socioeconomic status.

    Another couple ways that Don Guzman hurts the Native Hawaiian community is how he fought hard to try and keep MCCC filled beyond capacity. 90% of the people at MCCC are suffering and being punished for their disease— substance use disorder. 40% of the people at MCCC are Native Hawaiian. Don Guzman doesn’t care about Native Hawaiians. He fights for them to get punished in MCCC and our prison for profits. He likes lots of money to be in the prisons and doesn’t advocate for sufficient funds to be in drug rehab so people cal be properly rehabilitated via drug court. He prides himself in how many people he locks away. He doesn’t care to look at the high recidivism rate at MCCC. He wants them to keep coming back because then he can brag to the county council and mayor about how many people he put away. He doesn’t want them to become properly rehabilitated at Aloha House.

    Another way how Don Guzman marginalizes Native Hawaiians is what he did to my sister. My sister has been through a lot of trauma which has resulted in her developing a substance use disorder. I witnessed her get kicked in the stomach as a baby. Ans she had a knife wound to her leg as a baby. She was severely neglected and construction worker brought her home to me when I was five and watching myself. She had crawled to a construction site as a baby. She went through sever trauma growing up. Maui Police would come over and not do anything about it. So the trauma continued all her childhood. Still yet, she had a son and was a great mom to her son— working two job and taking good care of him. They were eachother’s world. But she fell on hard times when her significant other got her hooked on drugs. She ended up falling hard since she had gone through so much trauma in her childhood. I told Don Guzman through emails to please have my sister go through drug court so she could get drug treatment and go back to her son. I know countless people who have done that. And my sister is very receptive to classes that help her. Those letters fell on deaf ears because Maui police told me that Don Guzman doesn’t care for my sister to go through drug rehab since she is helping Don Guzman out so much by being an informant for him. She was too valuable to him so he wouldn’t want her to get better when he can use her as an informant to build cases. So there Don Guzman goes again. Using Native Hawaiians to his advantage to advance his careers.

    I please ask county council member Mike Molina and the ethics committee to not allow Don Guzman to continue as prosecuting attorney. Instead, I ask that he be removed. We can have a better prosecuting attorney who truly cares about the community.

    With Aloha,
    Kanani Higbee

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    AAron Reichert over 3 years ago

    Aloha Committee members,
    My name is AAron “Moose” Reichert.
    Owner of Krank Cycles bike shop in Makawao town.
    I am no politician and therefore do not really know about the intricacies and workings in the realms of what this is being placed.
    Based on the data that I’ve seen that is out there and as a business owner I would not let a good employee as Don Guzman go based on these facts.
    Over the years and dealing with mr. Guseman he is always been a champion for many things in the community.
    I have always observed him to be compassionate and kind toward others with humility. His social and communication skills have always been appropriate in a wide variety of settings.
    I writing this letter to your committee supporting Don Guzman. I oppose his removal. I have known Mr. Guzman for

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    Zaldy Ugalino over 3 years ago

    Atty. Don Guzman is a good honest hard working family man who cares and love Maui. He wants Maui to be safe and enjoyable for our locals and visitors alike. I urge the Maui County Council to allow Atty. Don Guzman to continue to serve the people of Maui as our prosecutor.
    Mahalo nui loa,
    Zaldy Ugalino

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    DrJoe Ritter over 3 years ago

    Honorable Chair and Esteemed Council Members: 11/5/2020

    Thank you for taking the time to read my testimony to the Governance, Ethics, and Transparency Committee. It truly is my privilege to offer my perspective and I thank you for fully considering it.

    I testify here to defend the future of Maui. Regardless of your personal thoughts on whether you can or should act to confirm the Mayor Victorino's decision to fire Prosecutor Don Guzman, I am sure that we can agree on this:

    In these troubled times for our democracy,
    we must be dedicated to transparency and hold ourselves to high ethical standards.
    In these troubled times for our economy,
    we must reinforce employee creativity, individualism and encourage free speech.

    Both sides of this conflict have been accused of political motivation and improper behavior.

    It has been alleged that the Prosecutor termination is due to a dissenting stifling opinion regarding refusal to pre sign a resignation letter. I am sure that you would not want the Mayor to have total absolute control over a budget, that would usurp the councils power and would appear to violate the spirit of the Maui county charter. Your vote today is what is required, we must never undo that.

    When a Mayor can fully control a prosecutor who holds the fate of many in his hands, the executive branch has far too much power and the potential for abuse is too tempting for all but men of the highest character: Whether (or not) this legal executive power has been or eventually is misused to make deals regarding selective law enforcement or to suppress opinion it certainly reeks of unethical and amoral behavior and totalitarian control by the executive branch.

    It is indeed reminiscent of a President having absolute control via firing power over an Attorney General, and a Health specialist. You know who I mean. (Trump, Barr and Fauci).

    Similarly, if the honorable Mayor has absolute power to fire via a presigned resignation those who he chooses, without council approval, it usurps your council’s power and overreaches the Mayor’s legally chartered authority. I urge you to demonstrate your power today, work to preserve democracy and eliminate the potential for future ethics violations - refuse the dictate to fire Prosecutor Don Guzman whom I believe to be an honorable man.

    As an outsider not privy to the inside facts I offer this: If council must act then let it act with total transparency and ethics, fully understanding that the will of the people must be obeyed. Set an example by denying this request and asserting council power.

    Reported presigned resignations can only have a chilling effect on self expression thus creating a hostile workplace. Such instruments of absolute control do not reinforce creativity or individualism or free speech or hard work. Suppressing opinions of smart people is not what we do in a democracy. So block this firing. Further, hostile workplaces are illegal albeit rampant.

    Subjective performance reviews submitted for executive session review are still secret. That is not transparency and thus seems a challenge to any sane sense of ethics.

    Firing a Prosecutor with what appears to be a fake and opaque ‘due process’ to many, appears to be a thug-like strongarm tactic to silence dissent and to manufacture bobblehead slaves out of our county office Directors. This is Maui, not D.C. Please stand up for our other civil servants. If that is unfair I apologize but this is indeed how it looks to most of our citizens due to the lack of transparency. They deserve better.

    If indeed there is a conflict of interest at County level by either the Mayor or the Prosecutor, it seems that by choosing to side with what would be deemed by most a political powerplay agenda. The optics are bad- it would seem to be a ganglike ethics violation in itself.

    I urge the committee members to hold themselves to a higher standard and do not confirm this firing. I am no lawyer, just a simple scientist. I have far more expertise in aerosol physics than human resources, but we can all see when a democratic system is turning south through the concentration of power, and we can all see when a worker is being threatened. We mustr stand against both. If there is an offense or required disciplinary action then state it publicly. But do not fire people in the dark behind closed doors with executive session evidence: This is not Washington D.C. This is Maui. We are better.

    On the Maui I know and love, we know how to stand up for democratic principles rather than fire hard working civil servants without proving just cause. We are better than that. We do not need more control and repression through firing Don and next likely other department heads who dare to raise their heads or voice their opinions. Your friends may be next. Or your cousin.

    I saw a previous Mayor disband a legally formed committee in violation of County law. A committee meant to reduce pollution. The future of Maui s about ethics. Maui is indeed a microcosm of the USA in many ways. Will you stand for democracy or do you want absolute control in the Mayors office? This is a slippery slope. Your vote today is about more than one job, it will push this teetering snowball down one slope or the other. I urge you to act with that in mind.

    Finally, all of you have families, and understand what job loss can mean to a psyche or to a future career. I urge you to transparently air this laundry very publicly lest an injustice to a good decent man occur and this honorable democratic body be construed a backroom kangaroo court with political motivations. If this is all handled in executive session without review by those you are in office to represent, it does a disservice to all parties.

    Please stand up for Maui and for Democracy by not firing a good man today.

    Of course, I’ll add here that forming office groups for public outreach, compassion, and hard work are exactly what we need in a modern prosecutor's office. It is in fact innovative. Do not fire this smart and accomplished man of great integrity, not in this way and not without cause.

    As an outsider I lack all facts but have complete faith in Don Guzman as a man. Yet this is about far more than one man and his job.

    In this situation Council must act in opposition to the Mayor to prove an ethics point and to maintain checks and balances. Preserve his job not only with compassion but also on fundamental principles - act for democracy and embody the highest principles today.

    Don’t fire our Prosecutor Don Guzman

    It truly is my privilege to offer my perspective and I thank you for considering it.

    With concern for our future and love for Maui,
    Dr. Joe Ritter
    Taxpayer and Concerned Citizen
    Kihei, House D11, Senate D6

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    Margie Yadao over 3 years ago

    Aloha Maui Council Member! I am sending this letter to your office supporting Attorney Don Guzman to continue as a Prosecuting Attorney to the office of Maui.. Ive’d known Don for more than 20 years . He is a hardworking kind and humble person .. His enthusiasm and kindness made him build a relationship of trust the people around him.. Don serve the County of Maui for years through his exemplary service and work ethic The people Maui continue choosing him to serve and trusted him again to do the job as a Prosecuting Attorney. Because of his great and excellent service we urge you to keep him and continue the job that Maui people want him to do .. I believe that his intention as a Prosecuting Attorney is to protect and improve the safety and betterment of the County of Maui ..He need a fair treatment with dignity .. He is a leader of good governance , that’s why the people of Maui keep believing and trusting him for years to serve .. His leadership define who he is in the County of Maui .. May God Speed the Right and continue make Maui the Best ! Mahalo! Margie Yadao

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    Brian Hozaki over 3 years ago

    Dear Maui County Council Members:

    I have known Don Guzman for many years. He has proven he is not afraid of hard work and is definitely an asset to our community. Don has established many valuable programs for the people of Maui which we are very grateful for.

    Don has always shown great compassion and concern for his family, friends and people of Maui. It is my hope that the Council will take into consideration all the good and positive things that he has contributed to our community. Losing a great leader such as Don would be a great loss for the people of Maui.

    Brian Hozaki

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    Maui Citizen over 3 years ago

    I strongly oppose the removal of Don Guzman as Prosecuting Attorney and want to add my voice to the chorus of support for keeping him in his position.

    The only publicly available testimony supporting the removal of Don Guzman is the same information submitted twice by an “anonymous” deputy prosecutor. The content is variations of the same complaints, which are very weak, at best. The anonymous alleged prosecutor has a long, rambling, and sometimes incoherent testimony and repeatedly misspells the plural of deputies and defendant making me question whether this person can actually be an attorney. I am more concerned about the petty nature of the alleged prosecutors complaints and possibly their mental health status while having prosecutorial powers over the citizens of this county.

    The anonymous prosecutor makes the following statement in what is supposed to be an employment complaint against his/her supervisor. It is irrelevant, highly unprofessional, and should at the very least cast doubt about the validity of their complaints. “In the law enforcement world of criminal prosecution, we have names for people who can’t handle jury trials. They’re called ‘civil attorney’s [sic]’ or more accurately, ‘cowards.’”

    In regards to my support for Don Guzman:

    I appreciate all of the community efforts Don has initiated related to victims’ rights, domestic violence, abuse/scamming of the elderly, drunk driving awareness, Road Safety Unit, etc. It is definitely a valued asset for the Prosecutor’s Office to do community outreach. They are, after all, a public service paid for by the community.

    After reading the existing testimony provided - it seems that the Mayor is bullying county employees by making them sign undated resignation letters. This is absolutely preposterous and seems like a far greater issue than a department head raising his voice at a subordinate. The Mayor also seems out of touch by having a very unrealistic expectation regarding prosecution of 100% of COVID-related citations.

    In closing, if we are going to pursue removing Don Guzman as Prosecutor for yelling at a subordinate, I would like to start the removal process of the mayor for yelling at Guzman for wearing an orange shirt as noted during the blessing of the Maui Lani roundabout.

    *Reposting under "Meeting Comments" as I unintentionally posted under "Agenda Comments"

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    Michelle Esteban over 3 years ago

    Aloha Chair and Council Members,

    Don Guzman is down-to-earth, humble, polite, dedicated, persistent, and determined and people know this, who come into his life. I have known Don for nearly over 10 years. As a council member, he was very dedicated. I watched him during committee meetings and he’s listening to constituents, writing things down and questioning unclear topics. Professionally he is an attorney, and when he was appointed as Prosecuting Attorney, the job description fit him. So, it is meaningless to remove him from his duties that he does well, and nearly no one has a problem working with him, and probably finds it quite nice for a change. Don Guzman does research well and has resources. He is someone you want to keep on your side.

    Michelle Esteban

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    Dr Charmaine Bissen, Retired Psychologist over 3 years ago

    Aloha Committee members,
    I wrote a long letter to your committee supporting Don Guzman. I oppose his removal. I have known Mr. Guzman for many years. He is a "God fearing Christian" who is actively involved in our church. I have always observed him to be compassionate and kind toward others with humility. His social and communication skills have always been appropriate in a wide variety of settings. I have never seen him raise his voice at anyone. I hope that Mr. Guzman's reputation will be restored and no longer be tainted. His integrity is intact and he has much to offer to improve the quality and well being of our Maui County communities. God be with you all. I trust that you will make the right decision and return him to his official position and duties. God be with you all. Aloha ke Akua. Respectfully, Charmaine Bissen, Psy.D., M.S., Retired DOE Maui District School Psychologist

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    Anthony Herndon over 3 years ago

    Dear Council Chair Molina and Council Members:

    I have been a deputy prosecuting attorney in Hawaii for the last eight years, and I was hired as a deputy prosecuting attorney for Maui County in December of last year. I am writing to offer my support for Don Guzman, based on my experience working for him. In my experience, Don has been professional and treated me with respect and dignity. He supported me when an immediate family member became ill. For that, I am extremely grateful to him.

    I cannot comment on any alleged misconduct, as it is beyond my observation or personal knowledge. However, based on my experience working for him, I believe Don is a man of good character and his leadership within our office has been outstanding. I ask that the committee treat Don fairly and, if appropriate or necessary, that the council consider alternative forms of resolution short of his removal, so that he be permitted to continue as Prosecuting Attorney.

    Anthony Herndon
    Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
    Wailuku, HI

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    Joshua Medeiros over 3 years ago

    Aloha Committee Members:

    I am writing in support of Mr. Don Guzman as Prosecuting Attorney for the County of Maui. I was hired in August of 2019 as an Investigator for the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney where I continue to serve in such capacity.

    I have observed Mr. Guzman's positive leadership, professionalism, compassion, integrity, respect and continued support for the department in which he was appointed to lead. Mr. Guzman truly cares about the department and all of his staff members and shares his vision for all to succeed. I have never experienced such a positive work environment while Mr. Guzman leads the Prosecuting Attorney's office. Mr. Guzman has an open door policy where he encourages his staff to raise any concerns, issues or suggestions that may help for the betterment of the department as a whole.

    I have seen Mr. Guzman's dedication to the department to seek and hire those with great character, positive attitudes, teamwork and leadership skills which will bring tremendous value also through experience, education and training to the department.

    Mr. Guzman's concern and ability to communicate with the entire department has been at the forefront for all issues including such uncertain times with COVID-19. Mr. Guzman has demonstrated his concern for all employees and the public to practice safe health guidelines and procedures. He initiated policies to adhere to all county, state and federal guidelines and was constantly informing all department employees to any changes, issues or concerns. Mr. Guzman also encouraged input from employees on their concerns and was open to any suggestions.

    I would like to thank you all for your time and consideration in this matter and ask for your support and confidence as I have for Mr. Guzman as the Prosecuting Attorney for the County of Maui and to continue to lead the department moving forward.


    Joshua Medeiros

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    Arnel Alvarez over 3 years ago

    Losing a good leader like Don Guzman will be a big loss for Maui county. He has done good deeds for the county. He always keeps the people of Maui County in mind and fights for what the people believe in.

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    John Naeole over 3 years ago

    Dear Maui County Council members,

    I am asking that the Maui Council, not allowing the Mayor the opportunity to fire Don Guzman from his position.
    I have him for almost fifteen years and we consider Don and his family as our Ohana. We have supported him from the time he became a Council member and even when he tried becoming Mayor on Maui.
    It would be a huge mistake to lose someone who is honest, fair,and also works diligently for everyone.
    Although sometimes there are differences and sometime voices are raised there are other better solutions than getting rid of someone.
    Sometimes we forget that we are only human and make mistakes at times and hopefully not repeating them.
    As for signing a resignation document is like your death sentence. I have never heard of it until now.
    Once again I ask the Maui County Council members to let Don Guzman continue his job as Prosecuting Attorney.

    Sincerely Yours,
    John Naeole

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    Daniel Soares over 3 years ago

    I support Don Gusman 100%. He is highly qualified, has the right attitude and is really passionate with regard to his current position. Losing him would be a great loss to Maui County

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    Tamara Paltin admin over 3 years ago

    I would like to submit the following informational documents.

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    Alana Kay over 3 years ago

    I oppose the removal of Don Guzman as deputy prosecuting attorney. I find him to be a man of very high integrity, a dedicated public servant, hard-working and a man of his word. It appears to me that the dismissal is a personal attack and not a sound professional decision on the part of the mayor

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    Matthew Kohm over 3 years ago

    Michael Molina, Chair
    Governance, Ethics, and Transparency Committee
    Maui County Council
    Wailuku, Maui, HI 96793

    RE: Donald Guzman, Maui County Prosecutor
    Mayor’s Resolution to Remove

    Dear Mr. Molina:

    I am an attorney in Maui County and submit a letter in support of Don Guzman and against the Mayor’s resolution to remove our prosecutor. I have been an attorney in the Second Circuit for more then 25 years, worked in the prosecutor’s office for a short period, and have handled felony appeal cases against the prosecutor’s office the last 23 years. I have heard several ‘stories’ of the issues that proceeded this move on the Mayor’s part. It seems personal and improperly focused. The prosecutor’s office must have the ability to handle matters and cases within the discretion of the office, and without outside pressure. Without a doubt sensitive matters occurred with the Covid-19 pandemic and positive testing of workers both at the courts and in the prosecutor’s office. It appears there was an incident during a stressful and trying event(s) of positive Covid-19 office employees. Normally such matters would be handled through internal office channels, with a review of all events and related factors. It does not appear such was done.

    Also, I am aware of other department heads at the County (previously) purportedly resigning. However, I am deeply troubled that our Mayor was using blank dated resignation letters, to circumvent the County Council’s inquiry into the appropriateness of a removal of department heads. Clearly the “law” anticipated a two sided inquiry, not just a Mayor’s unilateral action. The County Council should be skeptical and questioning of the Mayor’s actions and whether an internal matter is being used (improperly) for political reason.

    Don has always been a conscientious, principled and hard working attorney. He was a great choice to lead the prosecuting attorney’s office because he did not spend his entire legal career in that office. He has broader legal experiences which compliment his administration skills. It benefits the office to have a leader that can lead the office and rely on the experience of his senior deputies. It has been my observation that the office is functioning well, even at this unusual time. Maui County should deny the Mayor’s Resolution; it is inappropriate. Thank you for considering my submission.