Blast 'em

This Blast 'em blog is going to shine a much needed bright light on legislative shanigans. We will provide details of the wrong doing, give names of the doer, and describe the ramifications to the public. Initially we will focus primarily on consumer issues.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Salary Commission Trick

It seems the city officials need another pay raise. The justification is the same as last time: “some employees are making more than their bosses”.
I received the following Email, Thursday at 10:00 p.m.:

WE NEED LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
THIS IS AN OUTRAGE
WHILE PEOPLE ARE HOMELESS; SOME PEOLE ARE WORKING THREE JOBS JUAT TO LIVE; MORE THAN 70,000 HERE ARE WORKING FOR MINIMUM WAGE AND PROPERTY TAXES SKYROCKETING THE MAYOR & CITY COUNCIL ARE GOING TO GIVE THEMSELVES A PAYRAISE!

THE CITY COUNCIL BUDGET CHAIR SAID THE MONEY IS IN THE BUDGET THE PROPOSED BUDGETS HAS CUTS FOR SOME CITY POSITIONS
REMEMBER THIS IS AN ELECTION YEAR!

Friday, in the Honolulu Advertiser it was explained:

Plan boosts pay of city officials
Salaries could rise for the second straight year by as much as 5% unless rejected
By Crystal Kuamailto:ckua@starbulletin.com?subject=http://starbulletin.com/2006/04/20/
Salaries for the mayor, City Council and other city officials could go up for the second year in a row under a proposal that would give them as much as a 5 percent raise.
The city Salary Commission is considering pay increases of 3 to 5 percent for elected and appointed officials as part of the panel's annual salary review. The commission meets next Thursday to vote on a salary recommendation to the City Council.
CURRENT SALARIES OF CITY OFFICIALS
The city Salary Commission is considering recommending raises of between 3 percent and 5 percent for appointed and elected city officials. Here are their salaries now:
Mayor - $116,688
City Council Chairman - $50,388
City Councilmembers - $45,084
Managing Director - $111,384
Dep. Managing Director - $106,080
Department Directors - $103,800
Department Dep. Directors - $98,340
Police And Fire Chiefs - $114,624
Police And Fire Deputy Chiefs - $108,768

WHAT'S NEXT?
The Salary Commission meets next Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in the City Council committee room on the second floor of City Hall.
Any pay raise recommended by the commission takes effect automatically unless rejected by seven of the nine city council members.
Last year, the commission recommended a 4 percent salary increase for the mayor, managing director, department directors, deputy directors, fire and police chiefs, their deputies, the City Council chairman and council members.
Commission Chairman Guy Tajiri said they are likely to increase the combined salaries of all the positions by a certain percentage before settling on a final figure.
"That's the amount of dollars we're going to use to make an adjustment for the individual positions, and that's why the percentage (between positions) may vary," Tajiri said.
But one member of the Council, who has consistently objected to all pay increases, said this year in particular is a bad time for pay raises.
"Everyone would like a pay raise, and I'm no exception, but it's a question of priorities," Councilman Charles Djou said. "There are so many pressing financial needs that the city has, like trying to fix our sewer system and repairing all the damage that we've had from the rains recently. I think it's difficult to justify pay raises."
City Council Budget Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi, however, said there is money already set aside in next year's budget for any possible raise up to 4 percent.
Last year's 4 percent raise resulted in an additional $170,000 annual cost to the city.
While any potential pay raises might not be a financial struggle for the city, politically they could be, she acknowledged.
"That's the difficulty," she said.
That is why she would like to see what the commission comes up with and then weigh it with all the financial numbers, including the Council's desire for property tax cuts and the amount needed to pay for storm damage.
The City Council will hold a public hearing today on the proposed city operating and capital improvement budgets.
Council Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz said that he will also wait for the commission's decision.
"It depends on what the commission comes up with, because if they decide not to take any action, I'm fine with that," he said.
Dela Cruz said he is not opposed to raises that would help attract candidates for hard-to-fill directors' positions.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann is in China and was unavailable for comment yesterday.
Tajiri said that the City Charter does not require the commission to look at the city's revenue picture or economic outlook in coming up with recommended salary adjustments, "but I think we cannot ignore those factors."
Tajiri said that the commission's decision will be based on several factors, including what other city employees have received -- including those in collecting bargaining units and managers not covered by collective bargaining contracts. The commission also will look at inflation and what officials in other, comparable county and state posts make.
Chiefs of the Fire and Police departments are asking the commission to raise the pay for the chiefs and deputies in both those departments to keep them ahead of middle managers.
"If you look at the City Charter again, we're tasked with making salary adjustments in accordance with the principle of adequate compensation for work that they perform," Tajiri said. "I think we looked for fair and equitable adjustment."

Article URL: http://starbulletin.com/2006/04/20/news/story01.html © 1996-2006 The Honolulu Star-Bulletin http://www.starbulletin.com/

It seems our Mayor, Mufi, is struggling to make ends met on $116,000+! WOW, we should all be so unfortunate!

The salary commission trick is great for elected officials, they don’t have to vote for it and it magically goes into effect as long as they don’t vote against it. When the legislators in Washington, D.C. used this very same trick our Rep. Abercrombie actually claimed “I didn’t vote for it”. What a great guy!

Meanwhile, back to the city of Honolulu where they recently closed Ala Moana Beach Park at night to get rid of the homeless. They didn’t actually get rid of the they moved them somewhere else. Now, in their wisdom the Council is considering making the park closing permanent. Why not? It worked so well in the short term.

This is it for today, I am too disgusted to write any more,

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