Council member misleading on county workers’ pay

This is in response to Council Member Mike White’s comments in the Feb. 23 “Chair’s 3 Minutes” column about county wages and salaries.

As a county employee, I found it misleading of him to report that “over a five-year period wages paid by Maui County increased by 24.7 percent, while the combined wages in the rest of the community dropped by 5.5 percent.” Who received a wage increase of nearly 25 percent? It certainly wasn’t any of the employees represented by the Hawaii Government Employees Association.

In fact, to help balance the county budget, county employees consented to a one-day-a-month furlough equivalent to a 5 percent decrease in pay during 2009-11, and received no salary increase in 2011-13.

Yes, we did receive a modest increase in wages for our 2013-15 contract. However, the salary increase of 4 percent this fiscal year will not go far when we have to cover increasing costs in water, energy, health insurance and property taxes. We are surely not getting rich off of our pay. Some of us even work two or more jobs just to make ends meet. We are working members of this community, raising our families here and many of us volunteer our free time to various organizations.

The Maui County Council recently received 15 percent pay increases. Is Mr. White willing to give up his salary increase to help balance our budget?

Arnold Abe