HONOLULU (KHON2) — A City committee in charge of deciding salaries for city council members, the mayor and other department heads decided it is time to give them a raise.

The Honolulu Salary Committee had not recommended salary increases in the last four years; but this year, it is proposing a big bump for some positions. 

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When KHON2 asked Honolulu residents how much they think their council members earn annually, some guesses were closer than others; but they ranged between $70,000 and $120,000. 

All of those guesses were below the councilors’ actual salary of $68,904, while the council chair earns $76,968. 

The Honolulu Salary Commission is proposing a raise for them, along with the mayor and other department directors and deputies. 

A group formed by three commission members proposed three salary increase scenarios. The highest proposed increase for the mayor, department directors and deputies is 17.07%.

But, the biggest bump under this scenario would be for council members and council chair. Their earnings would more than double to $185,017 for councilors and $194,992 for the chair. 

One Honolulu resident was surprised about the jump.

Jeremy Young said, “If they are doing $68,000 right now, is that what you’re saying and moving it to $185,000. That seems like a pretty big jump.”

Part of the committee’s notes said these earnings would put them up in the same earning bracket as city directors and deputies, all of whom already earn six-figure salaries. 

Although, the committee’s group is leaning more towards a scenario of a 12.56% increase plus a $5,000 lump sum, the council members’ salaries would still double under this scenario. 

In a letter to the Honolulu Salary Commission members, Mayor Rick Blangiardi wrote in support of the pay increases. 

Part of the letter said, “To continue to attract and retain qualified and experienced individuals to assume the immense responsibility vested with City Directors and Deputies, we must offer salaries that are competitive with those offered by the private sectors and other government agencies.”

The public may share their thoughts during a Honolulu Salary Commission hearing scheduled for March 21 at Honolulu Hale.

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A final report will be presented to the Honolulu City Council on May 1; the council will make their final decision.