Salary process is rigged; public hearings needed

An April 25 letter writer pointed out what’s wrong with the recent salary increases for the Maui mayor and council. Too bad he’s too late.

This process is rigged:

  • he Salary Commission is appointed by those (mayor and council members) who benefit from their decisions. Folks, that’s known as a conflict of interest, also cronyism. The letter writer suggests electing them.
  • Once the Salary Commission decides: Bada bing, it’s done. In the old days they called that a fait accompli; today we just call it highway robbery.

The letter writer is right about the absurd fact that Maui council members make $22,456 more than Honolulu council members. But, sorry, it’s over. You can’t undo it. Complain, yes, but change it, fat chance.

Apathy is not the problem. Most who have learned about this are outraged. But citizens who do not know how to voice their opinion before it’s decided can’t be accused of apathy.

Actually, the problem is easily corrected without the hassle of electing salary commissioners. Just make them hold real public hearings. Right now the commission puts public testimony on its agenda. That’s not the same as public hearings on a specific subject conducted in venues throughout the county. The so-called public testimony agenda item is a joke because few know the subjects on the agenda.

Then, if real public hearings are held and the public fails to show up, we will have to shut up.

Bill Jenkins