Friday, June 25, 2004

Kauai officials receive
first pay raise since ’95

LIHUE >> The Kauai County Council gave the mayor, county department heads and deputy directors their first salary increases since 1995 yesterday.

The pay raises will cost the county an additional $150,000 a year. The money already is included in the budget for the fiscal year that will begin Thursday.

Mayor Bryan Baptiste's pay will increase to $80,000 from $73,118, a 9.4 percent increase.

The largest increase will go to the director of the Liquor Control Department. The pay for that position will jump to $72,000 from the current $55,000, a 31 percent increase.

At a public hearing on the pay raises, several members of the Liquor Commission made a passionate plea to the County Council for a major increase, arguing the liquor director's salary has been less than the deputy directors of other departments.

Most major department heads will be paid $75,000 instead of the $69,371 they now receive, an 8 percent increase.

Even with the raise, several Council members said the pay for the county engineer, who heads the Public Works Department, might not be enough to attract qualified applicants. The position has been vacant for two years and is being run by a deputy director who is an attorney.

The Council has suggested changing the County Charter, which currently requires the director's position to be filled by a registered civil engineer.

There was no public opposition to the pay increases, but Councilman Joe Munechika gave a speech defending them and said the Council was simply following what the county Salary Commission had recommended.


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