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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pay freeze extended for Maui County officials

The Maui News

WAILUKU, Maui - County departmental directors and deputies won't get a raise anytime soon. The county Salary Commission voted unanimously Friday to continue a freeze on director salaries through at least July 1, 2011.

Commissioners acted after receiving a letter from Mayor Charmaine Tavares last month asking them to delay any salary increases for elected and appointed officials through the 2011 fiscal year, because of the county's dire financial straits.

After hearing a report on the county's gloomy revenue forecast from Finance Director Kalbert Young, commission members had no problem following Tavares' advice.

"I just don't think it's right to raise anybody's salary right now," said Commissioner Jeremiah Savage.

At least one commission member said she'd be open to cutting the pay of county officials.

Commissioner Pam English said a pay cut would be appropriate, and she wished the Salary Commission had the power to set pay for all county employees, as the county faces increasing work force costs even as it struggles with declining revenues.

"If we could go countywide, from the janitors to the mayor, that would be another story, but we can't," she said.

The Salary Commission is an independent, volunteer board that has the final authority to set the salaries for the mayor, County Council members and county department heads and deputies.

Pay and benefits for county workers are set by collective bargaining agreements between the various public worker unions and the state and all four counties, which negotiate as a group.