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Mayor refuses personal pay increase & attaches conditions to raises for appointees


(Tue., April 16, 2013) Honolulu – Mayor Kirk Caldwell issued the following statement after the City and County of Honolulu Salary Commission approved recommended raises during a public hearing today:


I believe the Salary Commission has done a fair and comprehensive analysis in issuing their recommendations.  As Mayor, I need to take into consideration factors such as our economic recovery and pay raises in relation to the entire city workforce. 


I will not accept the recommended increase in the Mayor’s salary.  This means that I will not be taking the 5 percent ‘snap back’ restoration or any pay increase above that.  If pay increases go into effect as voted on today by the Salary Commission, I will essentially be agreeing to a 9 percent cut in pay.


My Cabinet members work extremely hard and are responsible for running one of the largest cities in the country.  However, before accepting any pay increases for my appointees, two conditions must be met:


1) A majority of city employees took a five percent reduction in pay in 2009 which remains in effect today.  I will not consider a pay raise for my Cabinet members until the five percent reduction is restored back to the 2009 levels for all City employees who took this cut.


2) Certain civil service contracts are now in the negotiation process. I will not consider a pay raise for my Cabinet until contracts are resolved and unless city employees will also receive fairly negotiated pay raises.


I believe that the salary increases set by the Salary Commission are justified.  In order to recruit and retain high quality administrators, the City needs to be competitive with the State and other County governments in Hawaii.  Other jurisdictions are receiving or are scheduled to receive pay raises: Maui County administrators will be receiving a 15 percent raise and State administrators are scheduled to receive increases that will be significantly higher than Honolulu administrator pay levels. 


Finally, I want to thank the Salary Commission for their work on a difficult issue.  The Salary Commission is set up to review and ensure that salary levels are appropriate and fair.  Pay increases should always be carefully considered, and while it may not be possible to take politics out of the process entirely, I believe the Commission is set up to take out the politics as much as possible, and to make recommendations from a neutral and informed position.





Jesse Broder Van Dyke

Communications Director

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell

Direct: (808) 768-6928

Cell: (808) 489-0341