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Friday, April 28, 2000

City & County of Honolulu

Big salary hikes
proposed for
police, fire chiefs

The raises are deserved, but
the economy makes the timing
bad, says the City Council chairman

By Treena Shapiro


The city salary commission has proposed large pay raises for the top brass at the Honolulu police and fire departments to help break the salary jam for deputy chiefs.

City Council Chairman Jon Yoshimura said pay raises are well-deserved, but it is not the right time to increase salaries because of tough economic times.

The council has 60 days to reject or modify the commission's proposed salaries or they will take effect automatically.

Assistant police and fire chiefs, who have civil service positions, currently make more money than deputy chiefs, who each have a salary of $81,102.

Under the commission's proposal announced yesterday, the fire and police chiefs would receive a 14.8 percent increase to $98,000 a year. Fire and police deputy chiefs would get a 14.7 percent hike to $93,000.

The commission also recommended raises for other elected and appointed officials.

Included are the mayor, City Council members, fire and police department chiefs and deputies, department heads, their deputies, the managing director and the assistant managing director.

"It's a wise decision," said Police Chief Lee Donohue.

"(The police commission) is more hands-on and very close to the situation and understands the required duties of the chiefs and deputies."

Donohue also said the proposed salary increases were fair and would allow the department to attract the most qualified and competent people to the department.

Former Fire Chief Donald Chang told the salary commission that currently, to be promoted to deputy fire chief, assistant fire chiefs take on added responsibilities and a pay cut.

"These high-profile jobs are extremely demanding and time-consuming," he said, pointing out that the chief and deputies are on call 24 hours a day.

A handful of people turned out in support of the pay increases, particularly for the fire and police chiefs and the Royal Hawaiian Band director.

Ed Michelman, president of Friends of the Royal Hawaiian Band, testified that band leader Aaron Mahi works seven days a week without a deputy and yet is at the bottom of the department-head pay scale.

"When not conducting or rehearsing, the director is busy with musical arrangements, scheduling, budgeting, personnel matters and meetings with city officials," he said.

While a salary increase for the bandleader was proposed, the position will still earn less than other department heads.

But the commission will recommend to the City Council that the salary be reviewed next year when more information about comparable positions is available.

The salary commission will also recommend that the charter commission determine whether City Council membership is a full- or part-time position and whether the police and fire commissions should determine salaries for their respective chiefs and deputies.

Proposed pay raises for city officials:

Bullet Mayor: $8,000 raise to $110,000 a year
Bullet Managing director: $8,100 raise to $105,000
Bullet Deputy managing director: $7,945 raise to $100,000
Bullet City Council members: $3,230 raise to $42,500
Bullet City Council chairman: $1,290 raise to $47,500
Bullet Fire and police chiefs: $12,626 raise to $98,000
Bullet Fire and police deputy chiefs: $11,898 raise to $93,000
Bullet Other directors: $9,626 raise to $95,000 (except fire, police and Royal Hawaiian Band)
Bullet Other deputy directors: $8,898 raise to $90,000 (except fire, police and Royal Hawaiian Band)
Bullet Royal Hawaiian Band director: $6,024 raise to $70,000

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