Raises get green light

LIHUE — Raises for some county officials and employees were approved Wednesday.

In a highly anticipated meeting, the Kauai County Council unanimously voted to defer a vote on a three-part package resolution to increase salaries, some of which will go into effect in July, and the county council effective in December 2020.

The deferment vote ensured certain employees including the police and fire chiefs and the mayor will see pay increases starting through an inability to carry an amendment to the resolution, either unanimously or through minority vote, which would have passed a measure to stop the pay increases.

It was suggested at one point during the debate that any councilmember that didn’t want the pay increases could “give the money back to the county to use.”

Several motions to either reject the resolution proposed by the Salary Commission in whole or in part were introduced throughout the course of the contested agenda item.

“Over 50 percent of the people in Hawaii that cannot get by — right— that they’re struggling,” Councilman KipuKai Kuali‘i said before the vote. “While they’re struggling, we’re not even paying attention to that.”

Kuali‘i pointed out they raised the General Excise Tax this year, which he added is a regression tax that hurts the taxpayer.

“How dare we, how dare we, because of our own mismanagement — and poor, you know — in exact words, ‘what to do about the roads in the 10-plus years,” he said.

He went on to say the raises come on the backs of the poorest on Kauai.

The combined average annual salary for all county officials on the list, excepting the councilmembers, is slightly over $115,000.

The vast majority of the proposed raises are 7.6 percent, although a handful of officials are in line for larger jumps in pay.

Councilmember Ross Kagawa made a motion to defer the vote before the council. Arthur Brun seconded Kagawa’s motion to defer before the motion to defer the resolution carried 6-1 with Kuali‘i voting no to defer the vote. Council Chair Kaneshiro held a silent vote, which counted as a yes.

Councilmember Ross Kagawa could be heard saying, “Merry Christmas” as the council went into a break immediately after the vote.

Council chair Arryl Kaneshiro reiterated that future councilmembers will see part three of the resolution (councilmember raises), although the raises take effect for council members, who will make $67,956 a year with the chair making $76,452, starting Dec. 1, 2020.


Ryan Collins, county reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or rcollins@thegardenisland.com.

*Note: This article was corrected on April 25 to reflect Arryl Kaneshiro’s silent vote, making the vote 6-1, not 5-1 as earlier reported.

  1. Absurd April 25, 2019 4:23 am Reply

    Absurd! This is absurd for the do nothings get a pay raise less than half of the year when they just had a absurd amount of pay raise last year.

    Are they going to ask every year for a 10-15% raise. You all see why they increased the GET and what that is used for?

    The majority of the county budget goes to salaries and nothing is done to address infrastructure issues and this happens every year. Their over bloated comes from inflated taxes. When will the people realize that politicians aren’t for the people and only for themselves.

    What have they done to deserve another absurd pay increase? Anywhere else a 1-2 percent increase is standard but the greed in the county of Kauai is 10 times the raise of the average. Now, do you believe that they work 10 times harder than you do? Do you believe that they deserve a hefty portion of the GET tax increase?

    One of them wants to joke “Merry Christmas”- Kagawa so literally he is spitting in the public’s face and taking all that he can before he is voted out next term. Vote all of these do nothings out next election. They didn’t deserve last years absurd pay increases.

    No Shame

  2. Makani B. Howard April 25, 2019 10:26 am Reply

    Wish I had a job where I could give myself a raise! (council)

    Now go out and earn it and actually DO SOMETHING THAT YOU PROMISED!!!!!

  3. Sue April 25, 2019 4:52 pm Reply

    What have you done to deserve this raise, council members? Mayor? We have roads that need fixing, infrastructure that is crumbling, problems with dirty ocean water, poor drainage leading to flooding, and you take raise and then complain we don’t have enough money? Give back your salary, then!

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