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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 21, 2006

Mayor, council up for pay raise

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writer


The city Salary Commission meets at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the City Council committee room on the second floor of City Hall.

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The commission is considering recommending a salary increase between 3 percent and 5 percent for the city's top elected and appointed officials. The current annual salaries of the top elected officials are:

Mayor: $116,688

City Council chairman: $50,388

City Council members: $45,084

Managing director: $111,384

Deputy managing director: $106,080

Department directors: $103,800

Department deputy directors: $98,340

Police and fire chiefs: $114,624

Police and fire deputy chiefs: $108,768

Source: City Salary Commission

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Salaries for Honolulu's mayor, City Council and other top elected and appointed officials could rise by 5 percent under a proposal up for consideration next week by the city Salary Commission.

Commission Chairman Guy Tajiri said the six-member commission expects to recommend an increase of 3 percent to 5 percent.

"We're trying to look at what's fair across the board," Tajiri said. "There are civil-service employees that are making more than their bosses."

Last year, the commission approved a 4 percent pay raise for the same officials. If the raises are approved, the City Council must accept or reject the salary proposal as is. It may not give raises to some officials and not to others or change the size of the raises.

The council accepted the raises last year.

Tajiri said he and the other members of the Salary Commission favor a Charter Commission proposal that would take the council out of the approve-or-reject decision-making.

"It would take the politics out of the process," Tajiri said, and he thinks this would result in a more even pay range for county officials.

He said raises for other officials get hung up when council members feel they must reject their own pay raises.

"It's difficult for people to approve their own pay raises without being criticized," Tajiri said. "It puts them in a very precarious position."

Tajiri said changing the charter would provide the Honolulu Salary Commission with the same independence that is already in place in the counties of Hawai'i, Maui and Kaua'i.

Reach Robbie Dingeman at rdingeman@honoluluadvertiser.com.