By Laurie Au
Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann today called Gov. Linda Lingle’s proposal to suspend pay raises for state leaders “symbolic,” saying it would have little impact in the state’s looming $1.1 billion budget shortfall.
“It’s probably more of a symbolic gesture than anything else,” Hannemann said in response to a reporter’s question in an unrelated press conference this morning. “If you look at the amount, it’s not that large.”
In a statement released Sunday afternoon, Lingle proposed introducing a bill that would freeze salary increases for roughly 200 state lawmakers, judges and top administrators for the next two years, which would save $4.1 million.
Hannemann said he would not rule out declining pay raises for city administrators and employees, but pointed out that the city’s Salary Commission makes those decisions. The commission approved pay increases of 5 percent to 9 percent for top city officials for this fiscal year.
Hannemann also criticized Lingle for not being more collaborative with county mayors before releasing her proposal.
Hannemann, who frequently clashes with Lingle, also added that, “It’s kind of easy to do it (suspend raises) on the last two years of your term.”
Updated, 3:56 p.m. | Lingle, in an afternoon news conference, responded to Hannemann’s criticism.
“I know that we did notify the Judiciary, the Legislature and I feel we’re being very collaborative with everyone,” Lingle said.
“Again, this is not a part of collective bargaining, this is talking about executive pay raises,” Lingle continued. “What went out yesterday had to do with politicians – elected politicians – judges and the members of my cabinet and the deputies, who are certainly, in my opinion, very deserving of a raise but recognize it’s a time of shared sacrifice for the state.”