The bottom lineTo The Forum:

As a result of poor administrative management our County has lost large sums of

money in fines and mishandled projects. And yet there is a request to increase

the salaries of top administration officials.

There is an accepted and

standard practice for determining the appropriate salaries of non-union

personnel. This is the benchmark system of comparing the salaries of an

equivalent position in three counties with the same population as Kaua’i

outside of Hawaii.

Using the salary scale of our neighbor islands cannot

be used. These islands have much larger populations which can spread the tax

base. If we pay equivalent salaries, we will pay higher taxes, and renters will

pay higher rents.

In comparison, our County administration has less

responsibility than most Mainland counties since it does not manage or support

schools and libraries.

Furthermore, the money spent promoting tourism is

highly questionable since there is no hard evidence to substantiate its

specific effect by direct tracking from targeted areas. Hotels, airlines and

travel agencies probably contribute more to developing our travel base.

Another standard in government operations with the budgeting system used in

Kaua’i is the awarding of the top 25 percent of a salary based upon

performance. The County Council should establish goals and objectives which it

wants to see accomplished.

At the end of the fiscal year the remaining

salary would be awarded according to the amount of accomplishment.

The

cure for many of our recent problems would be to have a hired county manager

rather than a political office of mayor. In the meantime, taxpayers and renters

should write to the Council and appear at their budget hearing on May 3.

Should our civil servants be paid higher salaries than the average hard-working

resident? Should we continue to pour money into tourism promotion without clear

evidence of benefit? Should our taxes be raised again, or should we demand a

leaner, more efficient and more accountable government?

Frederick Wells,

Kapa’a

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