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Pay raises proposed for mayors, council

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 11:26 a.m. HST, Jun 11, 2014

Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi will get a nearly 21 percent raise in his annual income, increasing his salary to $132,000, but he says he won't take it.

That would make him the state's third highest paid city executive behind Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell at $153,239, and Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa at $135,696.

By comparison, Caldwell is also up for an 8 percent raise this year under a proposal before the Honolulu City Council that would take effect on July 1.

The Honolulu proposal would boost the mayor's salary from $141,888 to $153,239. But Caldwell has rejected the pay increase and currently earns $129,607 by voluntarily reducing his own salary by about $12,000.

In April, Caldwell said he has not decided whether to support the latest salary plan advanced by Honolulu Salary Commission. That body also proposed 8 percent increases for Honolulu's nine city council members and Caldwell's cabinet.

Caldwell said he would make a decision after the city budget process has concluded.

According to the Hawaii Tribune Herald, Kenoi, Big Island county managers and county Council members will also receive pay increases, under a plan advanced Tuesday by the county Salary Commission.

The raises, which are expected to be approved by the Salary Commission on July 8, would take effect on July 1.

Kenoi has repeatedly said he does not want his $22,848 raise, but Commissioner Brian De Lima said the mayor's opinion isn't relevant. Kenoi now earns $109,152 annually.

"We're not giving a person, we're giving the position the salary," De Lima told the Hilo newspaper.

Kenoi reiterated his feelings to the Big Island newspaper on Tuesday. He said he would work with the finance department and the human resources department to ensure the money is donated to the United Way.

"I'm not taking a dollar of that raise," Kenoi said. "I made that promise, and it's a promise that I intend to keep."

Big Island Managing Director Wally Lau would receive a $15,056 raise to $119,000, and Deputy Managing Director Randy Kurohara would get a $16,000 raise to $115,000.

Hawaii Council members would get an 8.3 percent raise, increasing their pay by $4,000 annually to $52,000. The Council chairman would make $58,000 a year, up $6,000 annually, or an increase of 11.5 percent.

Honolulu Council members take home $52,446, about $3,000 less than state lawmakers. The Salary Commission has suggested boosting this by 8 percent to $56,642 with Council Chairman Ernie Martin earning $63,284 because of his position.

The annual salary of Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. has been $114,490 since he took office. Carvalho will seek re-election for his second full-term.

Kauai's seven county Council members earn $56,781.

On Maui, its nine county Council members are paid $76,475 annually.

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Bdpapa wrote:
Good for him! I'd vote for him!
on June 11,2014 | 07:26AM
Skyler wrote:
Same here.
on June 11,2014 | 11:55AM
Kapaho wrote:
He cannot run again as he is term limited.
on June 11,2014 | 06:41PM
danji wrote:
on June 11,2014 | 07:34AM
false wrote:
A man amongst boys...
on June 11,2014 | 08:01AM
engineersoldier wrote:
He is a real leader with a vision. He would make a great governor.
on June 11,2014 | 08:09AM
LKK56 wrote:
Will he be willing to also reduce the computation of his retirement by the amount he is declining - just wondering.
on June 11,2014 | 08:26AM
NotNasti wrote:
Give credit where credit is due. Have you ever rejected or declined a pay raise?
on June 11,2014 | 02:29PM
LKK56 wrote:
The Mayor deserves the pay raise - he is the Mayor of the whole County of Hawaii. He should not feel he does not deserve the pay raise. Most taxpayers do not realized the retirement perks of politicians. The retirement perks exceeds that of the normal day to day State/County worker.
on June 11,2014 | 03:39PM
KWAY wrote:
Thank you for your integrity and humility Billy. Seen you do some strange things, but you're a decent guy.
on June 11,2014 | 08:41AM
mauiday wrote:
How does the Salary Commission justify that the Maui county councilpersons make more than Oahu? Oahu"s population and problems are much larger than Maui's. Did the Maui county councilpersons vote a raise for themselves? How did this obvious discrepancy come to be???
on June 11,2014 | 10:18AM
Skyler wrote:
Dunno- do they have more travel expenses, etc? I don't live Maui, not being facetious.
on June 11,2014 | 11:56AM
HD36 wrote:
How much does the Salary Commission make and who gives them raises?
on June 11,2014 | 04:32PM
saveparadise wrote:
I respect any politician who rejects their own pay raise. It does not mean I approve of the quality of work they are producing but very noble to do so.
on June 11,2014 | 10:33AM
AlohaKakou wrote:
People tend to forget that "you get what you pay for." Look at the U.S. public school system versus the Japanese system - drastically different teacher pay and results.
on June 11,2014 | 10:51AM
mauiday wrote:
Does this mean that Maui's county councilpersons are better than Oahu's, Big Island and Kauai because they get paid more? So if we paid the dysfunctional congresspeople more, we will get better results? I have my doubts on that. From what I have read, Japan's educational system is structural different from US public school system, so it appears to be more than just about pay. Japan has a national curriculum whereas US is more state by state based system. In the US the amount of funds allocated by each state can differ so the curriculum and quality can vary greatly from state to state. Plus I read that Japan students go to school on average 60 more days than american students. So there seem to more factors affecting quality than just pay. I do agree that pay is a factor in attracting quality, but it is not the only factor.
on June 11,2014 | 12:02PM
pj737 wrote:
$119,00 ? $52,4466 ? Great editing guys!
on June 11,2014 | 11:10AM
Anonymous wrote:
I notice they fixed it after you pointed the mistakes out, but didn't acknowledge them. Great ethics to go along with great editing!
on June 11,2014 | 01:44PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
sTopp complainingg.
on June 11,2014 | 01:48PM
iwanaknow wrote:
Now if all politicians took a 10-15% pay cut (maybe donate to United Way?) til the economy got better...oh happy day!......or is it just wishful thinking?
on June 11,2014 | 11:11AM
mahinadahui wrote:
Can we trade Mayors? We'll take Kenoi for Caldwell.
on June 11,2014 | 11:32AM
islandsun wrote:
In a heartbeat......
on June 11,2014 | 11:40AM
tigerwarrior wrote:
Over the past year Kenoi was busy reintroducing his ethics bill to Hawaii County Council--while Caldwell sat on Territorial Savings Bank's board of directors which earned him $57,620. While high-level city officials are not prohibited from sitting on the boards of local businesses--this is one thing that separates the two mayors. As Kenoi once stated, "People can choose to be either an employee of the county or a vendor of the county, but not both." Perhaps I'm misapplying his words--but this is what I gather, IMO.
on June 11,2014 | 01:02PM
DMChasmail wrote:
I glanced at the headline and thought, wow...maybe Hawaii will have a minimum wage increase, too, which would make it easier for the working folk to survive in a place that has such a high cost of living. Then I opened the article...only to see that it's the same ole...politicians voting themselves a pay raise.
on June 11,2014 | 11:48AM
tigerwarrior wrote:
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has come under fire for giving two of his deputy mayors and one of his directors huge pay increases--his 3 assistants are now earning $170,000 a piece. However, this has been largely overlooked by the public and media--since after all--he's the mayor that signed onto legislation the $15 minimum wage LOL!
on June 11,2014 | 01:23PM
DAGR81 wrote:
Who cars about Seattle?
on June 12,2014 | 03:36AM
Skyler wrote:
Ernie Martin deserves more because of his position? Haha you kid, right?
on June 11,2014 | 12:03PM
bumba wrote:
Who appoints the Salary commission?
on June 11,2014 | 12:17PM
HD36 wrote:
The mayors appoint an "independent " commissioner on a 5 year term.
on June 11,2014 | 04:36PM
bumba wrote:
We got no money to fix the roads (take a ride on Meheula Parkway sometime) or the sewers, but we gotta give these guys a raise. Unbelievable.
on June 11,2014 | 12:19PM
roughrider wrote:
Hmm. Kenoi declines raise, Caldwell takes pay cut, Carvalho draws same salary since taking office ... what about Arakawa? Is he taking everything given him? Also, how in the world does Maui council members make $20,000-plus more than their island counterparts? Maui no ka oi, indeed!
on June 11,2014 | 12:23PM
Bully wrote:
The Big Island Mayor doesn't want a raise but they are going to force it on him anyway. I wish we were all that lucky.
on June 11,2014 | 01:52PM
realist3463 wrote:
Caldwell is not worth $1.53. He is certainly not worth $153K. No elected official should receive a pay raise while serving in the office to which he or she is elected no matter how many times they are re-elected. There should be no retirement benefits except for those provided by social security and their individual 401K.
on June 11,2014 | 02:41PM
DownSpout wrote:
The city council votes to throw $32,000,000 dollars down the homeless rat hole, and now we read "...proposed 8 percent increases for Honolulu's nine city council members." And for what: a job well done as stewards of the tax payers' money?
on June 11,2014 | 03:17PM
steveoctober wrote:
Maui county known to be very wasteful so not surprised by the drastically higher council pay. Too many shiny new condition county vehicles out there.
on June 11,2014 | 03:35PM
gmkhawaii wrote:
on June 11,2014 | 06:01PM
Kapaho wrote:
I could never understand why the mayor on Oahu is called Mayor of Honolulu. Shouldn't he be called Oahu Mayor? Otherwise, people can run for mayor of Pearl City, Waianae, Hawaii Kai, Waimanalo, etc.
on June 11,2014 | 06:44PM
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