University of Hawaii

Lingle calls
Dobelle request

The UH president is seeking more
funds to pay for faculty raises

By Richard Borreca

Gov. Linda Lingle criticized University of Hawaii President Evan Dobelle yesterday for asking for additional money for faculty pay raises without saying how the university would pay for it.

The UH has proposed adding $29 million in faculty raises to its budget, even before concluding negotiations with the faculty union. In a speech yesterday, Lingle said she did not think Dobelle was being professional in his request.

"If he wants to do something like that, he should be part of identifying where the money would come from," Lingle said.

"Are you going to raise tuition at your campuses? Are you going to close a campus? Are you going to cut other salaries?" she asked.

"Just to say we are going to raise salaries is not professional. If you say it is going to cost $30 million, you should say where you would get it.

"The departments in which I appoint the directors just wouldn't do something like that. They know the financial reality," Lingle said, noting that the UH regents pick the president.

Dobelle responded yesterday that it was his responsibility to set priorities, and compensation is critical to getting and keeping a good faculty.

"Gov. Lingle is, and always has been, a strong supporter of our faculty, so I am certain her administration recognizes the importance of this issue," Dobelle said.

Dobelle, who supported Lingle's opponent in last year's gubernatorial election, former Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono, also said he was surprised by Lingle's comments.

"These are difficult times for her, and this is the early days in her administration, and I assume it's pretty overwhelming and frustrating," Dobelle said.

Speaking for the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, John Radcliffe, the union's associate director, said UHPA is bargaining with the UH administration about salaries.

Noting that the UH budget has slipped from being 14 percent to being only 8 percent of the total state budget, Radcliffe said the faculty needs pay raises.

"We are hoping we will be able to find ways to solve this very serious problem," said Radcliffe, whose union endorsed Lingle in the election.

The university's overall general-fund budget request calls for $561 million in fiscal 2004 and $579 million in fiscal 2005. The current fiscal year's budget is $462 million.

In her speech yesterday before the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, Lingle bluntly said the state just does not have any extra money.

"The people of Hawaii recognize there simply isn't any more money," Lingle said.

If state departments want to increase their budgets, they also have to show where they will get the extra money, she said.

Lingle also outlined her plans to balance the state's $15.2 billion, two-year budget without using $175 million in the Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund or raising taxes. The plans include $33 million in cuts from the Cayetano administration's two-year draft budget, including $16 million in "add-on" requests for the Department of Education and $10 million in "add-ons" for the university, and $2 million in computer purchases for state departments.

"I think it would be great to upgrade computers, but just as you and your company doesn't upgrade computers when revenues are flat, we don't, either," Lingle said.

On another subject, Lingle said she will be going to Washington, D.C., next month for meetings about native Hawaiian-recognition legislation.

Lingle said she was invited yesterday by Hawaii's four-member congressional delegation to attend a meeting with U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft about the native Hawaiian bills pending in Congress.

Lingle said she thought she would be able to help lobby for the bills because she is a Republican while the entire Hawaii delegation is Democratic and in the minority in Washington, which has a Republican president and Congress.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

University of Hawaii

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