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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 27, 2002

Council members urged to reject raises

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser City Hall Writer

City Council Budget Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi yesterday said she is hopeful that at least six of her colleagues will join her in rejecting the 3 percent pay raises approved this week by the city Salary Commission.

The raises apply to top city administrators and other appointed, non-union officials.

"I don't feel we can accept this pay raise with the way the financial state of the city is," Kobayashi said. "I'd like us to reject our part."

Kobayashi has been wrestling with ways to cut the proposed city budget submitted by Mayor Jeremy Harris. Although the budget is balanced, she and other council members have criticized the use of special funds and debt restructuring, calling them tools that postpone problems while driving up future debt.

The commission on Thursday recommended that the mayor, his appointed officials, the City Council and others get the 3 percent raise, and top police and fire officials receiving a 5 percent raise.

Kobayashi said she has spoken to three other council members who believe they should reject the raise. At least seven of the nine council members must vote to reject the raise or it will take effect July 1.

Under the pay raise schedule, the mayor's salary would go up from $112,000 to $115,360. Police and fire chiefs would make $104,598 and directors of city departments would earn $99,807.

Kobayashi said she would like to see the police and fire chiefs get their raises, if possible. She said that would be in keeping with her philosophy of trying to spare health and safety concerns from budget cuts.