Thursday, May 19, 2005

Panel paves way for
officials to get raise

The City Council Budget Committee declined to act on a resolution that would have prevented the mayor, Council members and other elected and appointed officials from receiving a 4 percent pay raise beginning July 1.

City & County of Honolulu The city Salary Commission had recommended increasing the mayor's pay to $116,688 a year, and to $45,084 for Council members. Under the new salary schedule, the Council chairman would receive $50,388.

The commission's proposed salaries will take effect automatically if the Council does not reject the recommendations. Seven of nine council members would have to vote no to prevent a salary increase.

Budget Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi said her committee will not address the recommendations again.

"All of the officials named in the resolution have not had a salary increase since 2001," Kobayashi said. Salary Commission President Rick Ornellas said the Honolulu Consumer Price Index has increased about 6.1 percent since then.

At the Council meeting, Ornellas said the pay raise would cost the city only $170,000 annually and help recruit and maintain well-qualified officials.

Kobayashi said the cost of the increases can be accommodated within the budget.

The Salary Commission also recommended pay hikes for:

» Managing director to $116,688
» Deputy managing director to $106,080
» Department heads to $103,800
» Deputy department heads to $98,340
» Fire and police chiefs to $114,624
» Deputy fire and police chiefs to $108,768

Budget Committee members also approved collective-bargaining contracts yesterday giving pay raises to the Hawaii Government Employees Association and United Public Workers. The Council will vote on the resolutions on June 6.

Council member Charles Djou, who was behind the resolution to prevent salary increases, opposes the increases because the "city couldn't afford it."

Djou said the HGEA and UPW pay hikes will cost the city almost $30 million over the next two fiscal years and throw Mayor Mufi Hannemann's proposed budget off balance.

Kobayashi said the mayor set aside money in the provisional budget to finance the salary increases.

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