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Rail executive doesn’t want bonus this year

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The top executive overseeing Oahu’s cash-strapped rail effort is asking to forego his annual bonus this year because of the agency’s money problems.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Executive Director Dan Grabauskas told board members Thursday that the agency is working "diligently and responsibly to reduce costs and demonstrate that we are responding seriously to the public’s call for fiscal austerity and self discipline," in an April 2 letter.

HART board members on the Human Resources Committee considered Grabauskas’ request in executive session. The full board is slated to consider Grabauskas’ request later Thursday.

Several lawmakers have questioned whether the rail project is doing all it can to contain costs as they decide whether to vote in favor of extending the rail tax. The project currently faces as much as a $910 million budget gap.

The request also comes amid Grabauskas’ annual job evaluation, a process that will play out this month.  He first joined HART as its director in April 2012 and has received two annual $35,000 performance-based bonus.

Grabauskas’ original three-year deal, paying an annual base salary of $245,000, ends this month. His new contract pays a base of $257,000 and make him eligible for a 3.5 percent raise in the subsequent two years.

His new contract also replaces the annual flat-rate bonus of $35,000 that Grabauskas was eligible for with a range of bonus amounts that could equal as much as 15 percent of his salary.

However, Grabauskas said Thursday that a bonus shouldn’t be considered right now given all the financial hurdles that the project faces.

"Now simply is not  the time," he wrote in the letter to the board.

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