Pay hike proposed for Maui Council
WAILUKU » Maui County's salary commission is considering hefty pay raises for County Council members, who are already the highest paid in the state.
Commission members have proposed increasing the pay to as high as $70,000, but deferred action Friday until its Aug. 10 meeting.
The commission believes the current salaries are putting a strain on the members. The county chairman is currently paid $57,500 annually, with councilmembers earning $52,500.
In comparison, Honolulu City Council members received a 5 percent increase on July 1 that boosted their pay to $49,245 from $46,900 with the chairman now earning $55,020.
The Maui commission wants to increase the pay scale based on the workload and the need to attract qualified councilmembers in the future.
"We're all looking for who is going to be there in the future and how are we going to get them to run," commissioner Jason Williams said. "All I want to do is make sure that our County Council understands that we know that they need a cost-of-living adjustment."
The schedule for pay raises was also debated. Some favor a two-part incentive system that would give members a cost-of-living adjustment immediately ands a 15 percent incentive pay hike in January 2009.
A motion that would boost salaries to $60,0375 retroactive to July 1 and $70,000 in January 2009 was voted down 4-3.
Councilmember Gladys Baisa said she hopes the commission will consider the long hours worked and responsibilities involved.
"I feel that salaries are too low and they should be adjusted annually," Baisa said. "I know that they are all trying their very best to come to a conclusion, but at some point you have to make a decision."