Institute was right about average salaries of workers

Randy Perreira, head of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, wrote in a Nov. 2 letter to The Maui News that, “In an Oct. 19 letter to The Maui News, a man representing Grassroot Institute of Hawaii (Aaron Lief) was wrong to claim that ‘Hawaii’s county public employees in Hawaii make some of the highest wages in the nation.’ “

Mr. Perreira said the average salary for the HGEA’s largest bargaining unit is $37,600 per year. However, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that the average annual salary for county workers in Hawaii is $61,365, which ranks among the highest wages in the nation, even when adjusted for Hawaii’s high cost of living.

Most of the average is inflated by police and fire workers, who on Maui make an average of $72,670 and $72,252, respectively, not including benefits, according to data obtained from the Maui County Department of Finance. A large portion of their extra monies come from overtime, which has been shown to double the salaries of some Maui police and fire workers.

If police and fire wages are taken out of the data, the average salary for Maui County workers is $46,759.

All of the data sources are available on our website at publicemployeedata.

Joe Kent

Vice President of research

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii