LIHU‘E — In a recent survey of county employees, County of Kaua‘i Managing Director Michael Dahilig said only two to three are not currently meeting productivity standards set by the county.
At last week’s Kaua‘i County Council meeting, Dahilig briefed the group on efforts to utilize county employees in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the sustainability of these operational changes.
About 84% of the county’s 1,100 employees are currently preforming regular tasks at their regular stations, he reported. And about 15% of county employees are teleworking, and department heads have reported they’re seeing increased productivity. Dahilig referred to this subsection as largely “white-collar folks.”
A dozen employees have temporarily been redeployed from their regular duties to perform emergency operations.
As for the few employees not hitting productivity thresholds, Dahilig said the county is working to move these employees where they would be more useful.
“There’s more than enough work to do out there,” Dahilig said.
County employees are keeping busy, despite county-owned facilities, like the neighborhood centers and Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall, being closed for normal activities.
The county, led by the Department of Parks &Recreation, continues its Kupa‘a Kaua‘i food distribution program with the use of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds. This program runs four days through the end of December at various neighborhood centers.
Part of the concerns of the council, led in part by Vice Chair Ross Kagawa, stems from talks of state-employee furlough plans to ward off a budget crisis as the state faces a $2.2-billion revenue shortfall.
Kagawa said the county must be proactive in watching the state’s plans that may affect the county.
“The unions are in negotiations right now with the governor, and it’s very likely that, beginning in December, state employees will be going on furlough and approximately 10% of their pay is attempted to be saved,” Kagawa said.
“If not furloughs, it will be substantial layoffs using the risk process, which basically fires employees that have just begun working for the state.”
It’s a four-year plan, Kagawa noted.
“If we are not planning furloughs with COVID, (we need to) evaluate our country employees and make sure we are utilizing everybody’s talents and abilities due to COVID, whether facilities are closed or not,” Kagawa said.
Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or email@example.com.