Arbitration panel awards pay raises to police offiers

An arbitration panel has awarded a six-year contract with increases staggered in the fourth through sixth years of its term for members of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers.

In Maui County, the award affects the pay of 332 sworn, uniformed police officers, according to David Underwood, deputy director of the county’s Department of Personnel Services.

The panel’s decision was reached late Wednesday afternoon, and county officials were analyzing its costs Friday, Underwood said.

Police officers have been working without an updated contract since July 1, 2011, he said.

The arbitrated award covers the six years from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2017, Underwood said.

There’s no pay increase for the first two years of the contract, he said. However, there are across-the-board pay hikes in subsequent years:

* 1.75 percent as of July 1, 2013.

* 1.75 percent as of Jan. 1, 2014.

* 1.75 percent as of July 1, 2014.

* 1.75 percent as of Jan. 1, 2015.

* 2 percent as of July 1, 2015.

* 2 percent as of Jan. 1, 2016.

* 2.5 percent as of July 1, 2016.

* 3.3 percent as of Jan. 1, 2017.

It will take a few days for county officials to determine the cumulative impact of the arbitration award, Underwood said.

“We’re trying to digest everything that’s in it,” he said.

Mayor Alan Arakawa said that county officials were “surprised at the level of this award.”

But, “we feel that the arbitration process needs to be respected,” he said. “The arbitrator was given information by all participants and knew full well the circumstances of the counties and the state and we fully support his decision.”

The Maui County Code requires the Personnel Services Department to report the cost of the arbitration award to the County Council within 10 days, Underwood said.

Aside from pay increases, the new contract makes some changes in grievance and drug testing procedures and provides for salary changes for officers based on their seniority.

There was no immediate comment from Maui representatives of SHOPO.