An expensive private visit

It was a little surprising to us that Maui County got stuck with a huge overtime bill for its Police Department because Michelle Obama decided to visit her friend Oprah Winfrey.

The Police Commission was told Wednesday by Police Chief Gary Yubuta that the Secret Service asked police to assist during Mrs. Obama’s weeklong visit in January.

The chief and police business administrator Greg Takahashi were explaining to the commission that February’s $484,000 in overtime was the “most ever.” The department is set to blast past its $3.9 million yearly budget for overtime by some $1.7 million.

When asked what events contributed to the large amount of overtime, Yabuta said Mrs. Obama’s visit “encumbered a significant amount of overtime.”

“Those things can’t be helped,” Yabuta said.

Wait a minute. Is he saying that when the president or his family costs a community a great deal of money because of a visit, the community is just expected to eat that expense?

All those huge motorcades we see on television with police lining the streets and riding motorcycles are paid for by the communities? The federal government doesn’t reimburse localities?

We can understand the extra protection needed for the first family. But asking communities to absorb the cost of that protection is ludicrous.

It must mean that everywhere the president or the first lady visits a trail of broken budgets is left behind.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.