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Council eyes raises for staff

<p>J Yoshimoto</p>


Tribune-Herald staff writer

Hawaii County Council members will consider giving their staff a 4 percent raise Tuesday.

The pay raise would apply to 31 employees in the Legislative Branch.

Council Chairman J Yoshimoto said the employees are mostly appointed by council members and don’t fall under any of the county’s bargaining units.

The raise would be the first they’ve received since 2008.

It’s the same increase given to members of the Hawaii Government Employees Association and United Public Workers.

Yoshimoto said his proposal is about equity.

“We are basically being consistent and fair in how we handle the salaries,” he said.

The move would cost the county an additional $56,000 in wages.

Yoshimoto said it was already included in the budget the council adopted last month.

That budget, which covers the fiscal year that begins July 1, is $394.3 million. It is $27 million, or 7.4 percent, higher than the current budget.

Included in it is $4.2 million for ending employee furloughs and another $2.9 million to cover the HGEA and UPW raises.

The council also chose to raise property taxes by about 10 percent to cover the bigger budget.

Negotiations with union police and fire employees are in arbitration.

The county’s Salary Commission had proposed pay increases for administrative positions totalling $224,646 for the next fiscal year, but decided to take its recommendations back to the drawing board after its proposal was criticized by members of the public.

Finance Director Nancy Crawford had also written to the commission saying those proposed raises could not be afforded.

The legislative positions that would receive raises are: executive assistant and deputy executive assistant to the council chairperson; legal specialist; administrative assistant to the legislative auditor; administrative assistant to the county clerk; special assistant; audit analyst; legislative specialist; council aide; council aide to the chairperson; and council legislative assistant.

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