Plan cuts Hawaii County pay raises

HILO (AP) – The number of Hawaii County administrators who would receive pay raises has been cut by about half under a new plan before the county’s Salary Commission.

The plan would provide raises for 13 department heads and deputies rather than 25 as previously proposed.

The raises would range between 9 and 13.5 percent.

Commission Vice Chairwoman Pudding Lassiter said that the goal of the new proposal was to eliminate pay inversion, in which a subordinate makes more than a department head.

For example, a subordinate of the Hawaii County police chief currently makes more than he does.

Under the plan, the police and fire chiefs would make more than $127,000 while their deputy chiefs would make just over $124,000.

Commission Chairwoman Karolyn Lundkvist said that the whole commission saw the proposal for the first time at Wednesday’s meeting. She said members need more time to digest it.

The panel’s next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 30 in the Hilo.

The commission withdrew an earlier proposal, which would have cost the county $225,000 a year compared to $149,000 under the new proposal, in April after some members of the public spoke against it. Finance Director Nancy Crawford also expressed concern over the cost.

Mayor Billy Kenoi is among the executives who would not receive a raise under the new proposal.

He had said that he wasn’t opposed to raises for hardworking department heads but didn’t believe he needed a raise. Kenoi had also said he would give his additional pay, which would have been $22,002, to Hawaii Island’s United Way.

Kenoi is currently making $109,152 a year, which is 16.6 percent less than his highest paid subordinate.