LIHU’E — Mayor Maryanne Kusaka is among elected officials and appointed
department heads and deputies of Kaua’i County who are one step closer to a
higher salary after Wednesday’s County Council meeting.
The council gave
preliminary approval to the proposed raises by a vote of six to one, with
Councilman Gary Hooser the only nay sayer.
County clerk Peter Nakamura said
a date will be set for a public hearing on the proposed pay hikes that are
being recommended by the county Salary Commission.
The raises, according to
Bill 1951, can range from 1 to 10 percent.
For example, the current salary
for fire chief David Sproat is listed at $66,073. But if the bill becomes law,
Sproat’s salary range could become $69,400 to $77,400.
The exact same
figures would also apply for Nakamura.
Kusaka is making $73,118. Under the
proposed new salary scale, she would rise to $80,500.
attorney Michael Soong, who is running unopposed this fall for re-election,
pulls down $69,371. That would jump to $77,400. Kusaka’s administrative
assistant, Wally Rezentes Sr., makes $70,193. He could go up to
County engineer Cesar Portugal is earning $69,371. His bump could
put him between $69,400 and $77,400.
The director of finance, Wally
Rezentes Jr., is earning the same salary as Portugal and is looking at the same
range for a raise, as is county attorney Hartwell Blake, also currently earning
Planning director Dee Crowell’s salary, also currently $69,371,
could increase to $77,400.
Allan Tanigawa, director of personnel services,
is now making $66,073. That could change to $69,400 to $77,400.
explained his “no” vote by commenting on how many initial votes he and his
colleagues cast that they later reverse at the second (and final) reading of a
“I feel strongly that there is a certain value in remaining constant.
I want to acknowledge all the hard work of the Salary Commission, but I will be
voting no,” Hooser said.
His six fellow councilmembers went the other way.
On a related note, a public hearing generated no comment on Bill 1949,
which would amend Kaua`i County’s travel allowance per diem so that employees
with receipts could claim more than $35 per day in travel expenses.
bill was sent back to a council committee. It will be up for final passage at
the next council meeting Aug. 23. The Salary Commission is deciding what kind
of raise it will award the County Council. According to the county charter,
the council may set all county employees’ salaries except its own. Council
chairman Ron Kouchi stated emphatically that the council has no say over its
“The Salary Commission does that,” he said.Kouchi added that
five years ago, when council salaries were last boosted, he and some other
council members at the time gave the difference to charity.
salary is $31,936, while the other six council members are each paid
The Salary Commission will meet Aug. 22 to further discuss council
Staff writer Dennis Wilken can be reached at 245-3681 (ext.
252) or email@example.com