Water officials received bonuses
The Honolulu Board of Water Supply paid $555,763 in incentive bonuses to employees and managers, including former Manager and Chief Engineer Clifford Jamile and outgoing Deputy Donna Kiyosaki.
No bonuses have been paid this year because the pilot program for civil service employees ended last year, and new water supply Manager Clifford Lum deferred bonus payments for executives, "due to the fiscal condition of the Board of Water Supply."
Rising expenses forced the board to raise the rate it charges water users this year after keeping rates the same for the past 11 years.
The board approved bonuses of $63,000 for Jamile and $54,000 for Kiyosaki in December 2004 for meeting job performance goals in the previous 18 months. Their annual salaries were $126,000 for Jamile and $120,000 for Kiyosaki.
Under the Executive Experimental Modernization Program, Jamile was eligible for an annual bonus of 35 percent of his salary while Kiyosaki was eligible for 30 percent.
Nine other executives, including the agency's chief financial officer, chief operations officer, chief legal counsel, chief human resources officer and chief information officer, received incentive bonuses totaling $267,504.
Thirty-eight civil service employees received bonuses totaling $171,259 under the Multi-Skilled Worker Program. Lum said the program, which allows employees to cross-train to do multiple jobs, has been a success as fewer crews are needed to perform repairs, and they get the job done faster.
The agency was able to conduct the Multi-Skilled Worker Program as a pilot project under an agreement with its employees' labor unions, United Public Workers and Hawaii Government Employees Association. The agreement ended last September. Lum said the Board of Water Supply is negotiating a new agreement with the unions to make the program permanent.
Lum believes the program has been successful but that government still needs to do more to attract and retain highly qualified people.
"I think the total compensation is not enough," he said.
The agency is able to pay bonuses to its employees under a state law approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Linda Lingle in 2003. The provision applies only to Honolulu BWS.
Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann is opposed to the idea of bonuses and is puzzled how only one agency got special-interest legislation signed into law, said Bill Brennan, city spokesman.
That is because it was the only agency to reach agreement with UPW and HGEA, said Rep. Marcus Oshiro, who was chairman of the House Labor and Public Employment Committee in 2003.
He said the bill was an outgrowth of civil-service reforms seeking to adopt pay-for-performance models of the private sector. And the Multi-Skilled Worker Program is exactly what the Legislature intended, not to pay bonuses to executives.
"I never imagined that the pay-for-performance principle would be applied to higher-paid administrators," Oshiro said.
He said he was surprised by the amount of those bonuses.
"It's something that we definitely need to look at," Oshiro said.