Hawaii News Ige bemoans pay available to members of his Cabinet By Kevin Dayton July 29, 2015 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. Gov. David Ige has recently been using a family anecdote to illustrate how Hawaii’s government employee pay scale makes it difficult to fill top state jobs. Speaking to an audience at the state Employees’ Retirement System Investment Education Summit at the Kahala Hotel & Resort on Wednesday, Ige said his daughter Lauren recently accepted an internship with a fairly large Washington, D.C., law firm. Lauren is a second-year law student at Georgetown University Law Center. If you were to annualize Lauren’s monthly pay as an intern, Ige told his audience, she would be earning more per year than the governor of Hawaii. Ige now makes $149,556 a year, after receiving a raise July 1. “So, that just kind of tells you the challenges of selecting a Cabinet,” said Ige, who spent much of his first months in office recruiting Cabinet members. “I feel very good about those that have committed to public service. It’s a challenge because we don’t pay that well.” In an interview after his luncheon speech, Ige said he was surprised at how difficult it was to recruit and fill the leadership slots for each of the state departments. “We did get turned down quite a lot,” he said. “It’s very hard to be in public service. … I wouldn’t say it flat-out was about money, but obviously for people to take a pay cut and take a job with a lot more responsibility and a lot more visibility, you really have to want to do public service. I mean, would you take a pay cut to take a harder job with more exposure, visibility? It’s asking a lot.” Ige also said the University of Hawaii, the state Judiciary, the City and County of Honolulu and the state Department of Education all pay their top managers more than Ige can pay his leadership team members. That means even a manager who wants to be a public servant can earn more working somewhere other than in Ige’s Cabinet. “So, my budget director has more responsibility, and he gets paid less than the budget directors in any of those four organizations,” Ige said. “It’s a 24/7 job. I think it’s a big challenge for many of them, and so it was about asking over and over and over … and talking about what the larger vision is, about what I would hope to achieve,” he said. “I was very encouraged by the responses. You know, it’s not 100 percent, but I think we have real good team.” Pay for state department heads and their deputies is set by a state Salary Commission, which Ige does not control. Ige also stressed his plans to change the thinking of state employees. “I believe the most important asset the state has is its employees, and it’s about changing the mindset,” he said. “I believe that for at least the last decade, the public servants have been undervalued in terms of engaging them to be part of the solution, rather than chastising them as being the problem.” Previous Story Baby rescued from pool Next Story Enter the Endless Summer Photo Contest!