Tulsi Gabbard — Member of Congress —

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Council members want audit of rail public relations spending

Some of the rail public relations contractors have been paid more than a million dollars over the years.  Contracts keep getting renewed despite the fact HART hasn't been able to tell council members if they're all worth it. At least 24 people or public relations firms are making more than $4 million over two years.  Even the HART CEO Dan Grabauskas admitted it sounds a bit excessive but before he makes final judgment he has to figure out what each of the PR people do.

Of the billions to be spent on the Honolulu rail transit, millions will be spent on public involvement.  Parson's Brinkerhoff, which is one of the main contractors with the city, is spending more than $3.2 million alone on public involvement.  Among the highest contracts is Lychee Productions Inc. which is getting more than $1.1 million.  Gary Omori LLC is making $376,000.  Community Outreach Associates gets $375,000. Carlson Communications is making more than $351,000.  Those salaries are for a two year period.

"Why do you need all this PR?" asked Ann Kobayashi, Budget Committee Chair, during today's meeting.

"That's all what I'm looking to try to uncover. These are all things that happened prior to my arrival. These are contracts that were executed quite some time ago," responded Dan Grabauskas, HART CEO, during testimony..

"How can rail which isn't even running need 24 entities making over $4 million?" said Tom Berg, Honolulu City Councilmember.

"People's hard earned dollars being thrown by the million into this unknown pot," said Tulsi Gabbard, Honolulu City Councilmember, who introduced the resolution calling for an audit of the rail's public relations spending

The above is an excerpt from Hawaii News Now -  read the full article here.

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