LIHU’E – The Kaua’i County Salary Commission yesterday postponed any decision
on a proposed salary increase for the County Council until Aug. 22.
council is discussing a measure this afternoon that would provide raises for
other county officials, but council members can’t give themselves a raise.
That’s where the Salary Commission comes in.
Per the county charter, the
commission recommends salaries for all other elected officials and employees
but actually sets the pay for council members.
Any council pay raise deemed
fair by the commission and approved by the council would not take effect until
after this fall’s election, because legally the council cannot give itself a
As part of its preliminary investigation, the salary commission
heard from council chairman Ron Kouchi Tuesday morning.
currently makes $31,936 (the other six council members make $28,744), said the
number of hours council members work far exceeds the two meetings mandated per
month by the charter.
“We get requests to look at bus stops, placement and
removals, pot holes, rezoning,” he said, all of which “fall under the category
of field trips.You set appointments in your office and people drop by your
house. There are (unofficial) meetings in the grocery store, meetings at the
restaurant, people stop your dinner, meetings at the bon dance.”
added that being a council member has no real set hours.
commission work. You can work literally every hour of the day at this job,” he
Kouchi said the fact that all the council’s meetings are televised
via cable television islandwide assures that each council member came to the
“When people get elected, the last thing they want to do
is embarrass themselves. There are television cameras at all our meetings. We
want to be up to speed,” Kouchi explained.
Kouchi said he tries to stay
available to his constituents.
“I list my residential phone number in the
phone book. So if they want to find me, I don’t make it hard,” he
Before the matter was tabled until Aug. 22, commission member Barry
Hubbard commented that the job of council member is mislabeled.
think part-time is an accurate label” for what they do, Hubbard said.
The commission, as mandated by charter, is composed of three members appointed
by the council, three members appointed by the mayor and one member appointed
by the other six commissioners.
Staff writer Dennis Wilken can be
reached at 245-3681 (ext.252) and [