Stadium Authority and UH get closer to rent reduction
The Aloha Stadium Authority continued the process of possibly reducing the rent paid by the University of Hawaii for use of the stadium for home football games.
The authority passed an amendment to its rules during its monthly meeting yesterday giving it the freedom to negotiate rent with UH. The proposal also capped UH's rent at the current rate of 7 1/2 percent of ticket receipts.
The measure must still be sent to the governor for approval and presented for a public hearing before being implemented.
The amendment would give the Stadium Authority the flexibility to adjust the rent, possibly reducing it in increments rather than eliminating it completely. The rent is currently set by state law.
"It gives us the option to do whatever we want with that motion instead of pinning us down to a certain thing," Stadium Authority chairman Kevin Chong Kee said. "Whether we give them the full concession or half of it, it gives us an option we can play with."
The UH athletic department was prepared to submit a petition to have the rent waived by the authority, but withdrew it after the amendment was passed.
After hearing the proposal, UH athletic director Herman Frazier was confident the authority and the school are on the same track.
"It sounds like (the committee's report) was very favorable," Frazier said. "If that is indeed the case, we believe at this time we don't have to place our petition in.
"Obviously, if we think things take a different turn then we reserve the right to bring that back."
Frazier said UH annually pays between $325,000 and $350,000 in rent to the stadium. The school must also pay expenses, which would not be part of the negotiation, bringing the total to close to $800,000.
"Whatever the stadium makes from the swap meet and the games is what runs the stadium," Chong Kee said. "Now financially we have to look at our books and see what can we play with. We'll work it out."
The authority also took the first step in replacing Eddie Hayashi, the stadium manager for the last 12 years.
Hayashi begins his retirement tomorrow and the authority is in no rush to name a successor. Its first task will be to update the manager's job description, which hasn't been altered since 1974.
"It takes a special person because of all of the people you have to deal with," Chong Kee said. "They'll have to know about a lot of things."
Current deputy manager Kenny Lum will serve as manager until a permanent replacement is named. A timetable for naming a new manager has not been set.
Chong Kee asked board members to submit recommendations on the manager's duties and the position will be advertised after the new job description is approved.
During the meeting, Chong Kee said the changes aren't a reflection on Hayashi's performance during his tenure, but said the previous description was vague and needed to be updated after more than 30 years.
The stadium manager oversees about 50 full-time employees while directing between 700 and 800 part-time workers during the football season. Chong Kee also listed marketing, public relations and business administration among the skills the manager will need to have.
The state Legislature approved raises for the stadium manager and deputy manager during its last session.
The manager's pay was increased to $79,866, a boost of about $1,900, effective July 1. The deputy manager now makes $67,886, up nearly $2,200.
Chong Kee said the manager's position remains underpaid and the authority may seek another pay raise from the Legislature to make the position more attractive.