This column occasionally pokes fun at the Maui County Liquor Commission for being a bit deaf to social justice matters popular and important to the island’s population. No matter how many people pack the commission’s hearing chamber to ask for new rules on dancing, for instance, the commissioners just shrug their shoulders and move on to the next item on their monthly agenda.
But there is one issue that has galvanized the commission. Lately it’s gotten so bad that they’ve even taken it upon themselves to get something done.
Seems LC Director Franklyn Silva and Deputy Director Wayne Pagan apparently don’t make enough money.
“I’ve gone to a couple [Maui County Salary Commission] meetings,” Commissioner Curt Morimoto said at the close of the Feb. 13, 2008 Liquor Commission hearing. “They’re asking courteously for input. But there’s an agenda—raises for the director and deputy director are not high on their agenda.”
This issue dates back at least a year. In January 2007, the Salary Commission released their list of proposed raises for county department directors and deputy directors, and lo and behold neither Silva nor Pagan made the cut.
In fact, their salaries ($87,400 and $83,000, respectively) were the lowest of any county chief or deputy chief. Even the Maui County Personnel Director—as unknown as you can get on the county roster, made $2,600 a year more than Silva.
But the Liquor Commission—who, at least on paper, has authority over Silva and Pagan—will stand for this no longer. In fact, Commissioner Merlyn Winters even upped the ante, quoting one Salary Commissioner whose name she couldn’t recall as saying that the reason they haven’t given Silva and Pagan raises is because they’re waiting for those two to give the rest of the department raises first.
Of course, Winters hastened to add, Silva also told her that he’s spent the last five years trying to do exactly that, only to see the effort strangled by red tape.
“That’s correct,” Pagan said, who was filling in for the absent Silva.