City & County of Honolulu

City Council members
in line for 21% raise

A salary commission also
urges pay hikes for the mayor
and other top city officials

The salaries for City Council members would increase more than 21 percent under recommendations approved yesterday by the city Salary Commission.

The commission also recommended pay raises of 5 percent for the mayor and his top manager, and the prosecutor and corporation counsel and their first deputies.

The proposed raises are headed to the City Council, which has 60 days to reject or modify the commission's proposed salaries -- or they will take effect automatically. Seven of nine votes are needed to reject the raises.

The recommendations are:

>> The mayor's salary would go to $117,810 from $112,200.
>> The managing director's pay would increase to $112,455 from $107,100.
>> The Council chairman would make $58,905. Currently, the chairman makes $48,450.
>> Council members' salaries would increase to $52,700 from $43,350.
>> The city prosecutor and corporation counsel would be paid $104,797; they currently make $99,807.
>> Their first deputies' salaries would go to $99,282 from $94,554.

If approved, the salary increases would take effect July 1.

The proposal means the mayor's salary would remain greater than even the proposed higher salary for the governor. The state Executive Salary Commission has recommended the governor's pay be increased to $112,000 from $94,780, but there is a move by the Legislature to block the raise.

Since police Chief Lee Donohue announced he will retire, the salary commission will also look at the possibility of increasing the police chief's pay to be competitive with similar-size cities on the mainland.

At least one Council member said he believes that the city raises will probably go through but that the city cannot afford them.

Councilman Charles Djou said that just like unionized employees, elected and appointed officials work hard and probably deserve a raise. But "the city doesn't have the resources to afford these," Djou said.

The raises would add more than $120,000 annually to the city's budget.

The amount of these raises will not hit the budget as hard as the $6 million collective-bargaining salary hike awarded to the employees represented by the Hawaii Government Employees Association, Djou said.

"These are the big ones but every dollar counts," said Djou, who opposes the raises but added he believes the majority of Council members will vote in favor of the HGEA raises.

The Council gave preliminary approval last night to a $1.22 billion operating budget for fiscal 2005 -- but only after paring more than $2 million from the budget as it was proposed by Mayor Jeremy Harris.


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