Council members’ salary hikes can’t be justified

The Maui County Salary Commission increased the County Council’s annual salary from $66,500 to $76,475 per member, or by $9,975, justifying it on the ground that the council faces a demanding schedule and its work is a full-time job, to which I differ.

1. The Honolulu Neighborhood Boards notwithstanding, the Honolulu Council faces a more demanding task because it deals with a far greater population (probably five times more), sophistication and complexities. Yet it has an annual salary of $54,019 per member, $22,456 less than Maui annually per member. I see no good reason why the Maui County Council should be paid more than or even equally with Honolulu.

2. Even at $66,500, the Maui County Council was being paid more than the Honolulu Council’s salary today.

3. The trouble may lie in the salary commission being appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the council, tending to make the commission beholden to the mayor and the council. Perhaps the commission should be elected to make it accountable to the people who pay the bill.

4. If the council spends an inordinate amount of time attending hearings, a hearing officer and assistants may be considered to do part of the work with the council’s approval, or a candidate for the office may choose not to run.

Walter T. Shimoda