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Friday, March 24, 2000

Hawaii State Seal

Bill to boost ethics
chief’s salary fails to
get hearing

By Crystal Kua


The state Ethics Commission's executive director will continue to make less than his second-in-command for at least another year.

Legislature 2000 A bill that would have given Executive Director Daniel Mollway a raise and set up a formula to keep his salary higher than his associate director's pay is apparently dead this session.

Both the Senate and House versions of the bill failed to get a hearing from the House Judiciary Committee.

Judiciary Chairman Eric Hamakawa (D, South Hilo) said this is not the right time to be giving salary increases to department or agency heads.

"Our fiscal situation would not permit us to give raises to employees who we feel should get raises," Hamakawa said. "Why single out a director for such an increase when no one else is receiving increases?"

Ethics Commission Chairwoman Leolani Abdul said the salary increase would not have affected the commission's budget because money is available.

She said the decision by the Judiciary Committee not to hear the bill was disheartening and the committee should have kept the bill alive long enough for the House Finance Committee to consider the financial impact.

"The appropriate committee to deal with finance is the House Finance Committee," Abdul said. "It would have been nice if (Hamakawa) had heard the bill in his committee for discussion purposes."

Mollway's annual salary is capped at $77,966 by law, while his associate director makes $79,506 a year, an amount that goes up each time a comparable collective-bargaining employee gets a raise. The bill would have pushed Mollway's salary to about $84,000 a year.

A key reason for the bill, which would have pegged the executive director's salary at up to 5 percent above the associate director's salary, was to make sure the executive director's pay was higher than the pay of the employees under him, Abdul said.

But Hamakawa said that he doesn't see it as a good reason to increase the salary.

"You know, that happens all over government. For instance, all us elected members of the House, our office managers get paid more than we do. My staff, most of them get paid more than I do. I don't see that as much of a problem."

Get involved

You can track bills, hearings and other Legislature action via:

Bullet The Legislative Reference Bureau's public access room, state Capitol, room 401. Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Phone: 587-0478; fax, 587-0793; TTY, 538-9670.

Neighbor islanders, call toll-free and enter ext. 70478 after the number:

Big Island, 974-4000; Maui,

984-2400; Kauai, 274-3141;

Molokai and Lanai, 468-4644.

Bullet The state's daily Internet listing of hearings:

Bullet The Legislature's automated bill report service: 586-7000.

Bullet The state's general Web page:

Bullet Our Web site:

E-mail to City Desk

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