Testimony: To lift or to not increase the salaries of Maui County officers?

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The next testimony by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii was thought of by the Maui County Wage Fee on Jan. 20, 2023.

Jan. 20, 2023
9:00 a.m.
Mayor’s Convention Room and Videoconference

To: The Maui County Wage Fee
Chair, Scott Parker
Vice Chair, Grant Nakama

From: Joe Kent
          Government Vice President

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

RE: Merchandise 5.A, Dialogue and consideration of the Wage Fee’s 2023 technique and strategy relating to the salaries for the Mayor, County Council members, Administrators, Deputy Administrators and County Auditor.

Feedback Solely

Pricey Chair and Fee Members:

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii want to supply its feedback on the Wage Fee’s 2023 technique for figuring out the salaries of the mayor, County Council members, division administrators and the county auditor.

In April 2022, the Fee voted to present the mayor, County Council members and division administrators a 5% pay improve. This was the primary increase the Council had acquired since 2013.[1]

Going ahead in 2023, the Fee ought to take into account the next:

>> The Maui County Council is the very best paid Council within the state.

Due to final yr’s pay increase, members of the Maui County Council now obtain a wage of $80,298.75 a yr; the Council chair receives $86,336.25.

On Kauai, the Kauai County Council voted in September 2022 to present itself, the mayor and the division heads 15% raises. By 2024, Kauai’s Council members will likely be making $78,672 a yr, and the Council chair $88,502.[2]

In Honolulu and Hawaii counties, the mayors and county councils didn’t obtain any pay will increase final yr.[3] Their council members are paid $68,904 and $70,008 per yr, respectively.[4]

>> Many metropolis and county council members throughout the U.S. work for much less.

Throughout america, there’s nice variation in how metropolis and county council members are compensated.

In Texas, Austin Metropolis Council members make $116,688 per yr whereas Dallas Council members earn solely $60,000 per yr — regardless that each councils are full-time.[5]

In the meantime, many smaller localities throughout the nation are led by council members who obtain a lot decrease compensation.

For instance, Sandy Springs, Georgia, a city of about 100,000 individuals, pays its mayor $47,000 per yr, and its council members $21,000, adjusted for Hawaii’s price of dwelling.[6] The town is persistently ranked as probably the greatest locations to dwell in America,[7] and is dwelling to a number of Fortune 500 corporations.[8]

Maui lawmakers usually are not essentially full-time staff

Maui County officers are neither part-time nor full-time staff, in accordance with the Maui Company Council, which said on April 8, 2019:

Elected officers are a novel class of public servant who’re neither full-time or part-time. Whereas the county council could designate its members as full-time, the advantages accorded to elected officers usually are not primarily based on that designation. The advantages accessible to elected officers are established by statute. We make no opinion whether or not the Wage Fee ought to take into account the full-time or part-time standing of elected officers.[9]

The truth that the mayor and council have prior to now labored lengthy hours doesn’t essentially imply that they need to work a lot, nor that spending a lot time on their jobs is a “public good.”

For instance, in some situations, the laborious creation of laws that places limitations in the way in which of housing or enterprise exercise, or infringes on the property rights of residents, might really be thought of a “public unhealthy,” and shouldn’t be inspired.

Above all, because the Maui County Wage Fee works on its technique for 2023, it is very important keep in mind that creating an excellent place to dwell doesn’t require paying the mayor and County Council members excessive salaries.

Thanks for the chance to testify.

Joe Kent

Government Vice President

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

[1] Lila Fujimoto, “Panel awards pay raises to mayor, council,” The Maui Information, April 9, 2022.

[2] Guthrie Scrimgeour, “Kaua‘i county council approves raises for mayor, division heads, councilmembers,” The Backyard Island, Sept. 8, 2022.

[3] Ashley Mizuo, “No wage improve this yr for Council members, mayor and division heads,” Honolulu Star-Advertiser, April 19, 2022.

[4] Richard Wiens, “Which County Pays Its Council Members The Most? (Trace: It’s Not Honolulu),” Honolulu Civil Beat, Oct. 17, 2021.

[5] Bridget Grumet, “Grumet: Austin Metropolis Council’s large raises got here with too little clarification,” Austin American-Statesman, Aug. 21, 2022.

[6] Based mostly on Grassroot Institute of Hawaii calculations, Jan. 19, 2023, utilizing the U.S. Bureau of Financial Evaluation cost-of-living adjuster, and Sandy Springs base salaries of $40,000 for its mayor and $18,000 for its council members. See “Actual Private Consumption Expenditures by State and Actual Private Earnings by State and Metropolitan Space, 2021,” U.S. Bureau of Financial Evaluation, Dec. 15, 2022; and “Working for Workplace and Qualifying for the Municipal Election,” SandySpringsGA.gov, 2021.

[7] “Awards and honors,” SandySpringsGA.gov, 2021.

[8] John Ruch, “Sandy Springs Is A Magnet For Fortune 500 Headquarters,” Sandy Springs journal, Sept. 21, 2021.

[9] Letter from Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, Maui County Council vice-chair, to Gary Murai, Maui deputy company counsel, April 8, 2019, p. 6.