Legislative liaison for city leaves his post
A legislative liaison for the City Council terminated his contract Wednesday, leaving after a little more than two months because of a "hostile" environment with several councilmembers calling his job a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Alex Santiago, a lobbyist and former Hawaii Democratic Party chairman, said he accepted another job offer and felt he was caught in the middle of a "dysfunctional" council.
"There was nothing but the best of intentions and the highest hopes when I took the job," Santiago said Thursday. But after a committee briefing in August during which several councilmembers grilled him on his job's necessity, Santiago said he knew he'd be criticized at every opportunity.
Council Chairwoman Barbara Marshall hired Santiago for $49,999 a year to track and research bills at the state Legislature affecting the city because many issues have slipped by in the past.
But other councilmembers, especially Charles Djou, said Santiago's role was unnecessary because several of them are familiar with the legislative process.
Djou said he was pleased with the contract's termination but "disappointed that we had to waste thousands of dollars to relearn the lesson that sweetheart contracts are never a good deal for taxpayers."
Marshall said it was a "sad day for taxpayers" because Santiago wasn't give the opportunity to show the difference he could have made for the city.
Santiago's contract started July 1 and he was paid one month's salary of $4,166.66. Because of funding, Marshall said, she won't fill Santiago's position this year.