State, HGEA going 'back and forth' on contract


POSTED: Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A contract settlement between the state and the Hawaii Government Employees Association remains on hold while technical details are ironed out.

“;We're working very closely on language back and forth,”; Gov. Linda Lingle said.

Lingle said the contract has not yet received approval from at least one county mayor, as required by law.

None of the mayors could be reached for comment yesterday.

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who has been on the mainland this week, and Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi were traveling to Japan yesterday for an event sponsored by Marriott International to promote tourism to Hawaii.

Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho and Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares were unavailable for comment, their offices said.

Throughout the contract negotiations, the mayors have attempted to speak as a unified voice, with Hannemann typically taking the lead.

Last Friday, when a contract appeared imminent, Hannemann said there still was an issue that needed to be clarified and that the mayors wanted to work on contract language.

Those negotiations continued yesterday.

Because the state and counties are on the same side in the contract negotiations, both have to agree on the deal before it can move forward.

Lingle called that process “;complicated,”; noting that the counties' negotiating with different bargaining units has delayed an agreement. “;They want to craft some language of their own as it relates to pieces of the contract — how they think it's going to impact them,”; she said.

Lingle also noted that no contract appears imminent for public workers covered by the United Public Workers union.

“;I don't think we're close at all with UPW,”; she said.