Sometimes I’m just too ironic for my own good. In the Feb. 8, 2007 edition of this column, I made copious fun of the fact that even though the county Salary Commission just announced a new batch of raises, Liquor Control Director Franklyn Silva is the lowest paid department head in the County of Maui.
“And those members of the Liquor Commission and Board of Adjudication aren’t pushovers, either,” I wrote, tongue firmly in cheek, of the hardships Silva has to endure each day for a paltry $87,400 a year paycheck. “[Y]ou think it’s easy going to work when some of them don’t actually worship the director, but merely revere him?”
At the Feb. 14, 2007 Liquor Commission hearing, I was shocked to see my irony spun back at me as decidedly unironic outrage.
“I think the Liquor Commission [director] is the only one [department head] that hasn’t had a raise,” Commission Chairman Manuel Moniz, Jr. said near the end of the hearing. “It stands to reason that it should be reviewed. I don’t know why everyone else got a substantial raise and there was none for the Liquor Commission.”
“I’ll second that,” Commissioner Ron McOmber said enthusiastically.
Silva actually wasn’t at the hearing, but Deputy Director Wayne Pagan told the commissioners that Silva had requested a copy of the minutes from the Salary Commission hearing that dealt with the department head raises.
“I’d like to be involved and I think there’s some injustice here,” Moniz said.
“If we hire and fire the director, why don’t we have something to say—why weren’t we asked about raises?” asked McOmber.
That’s when First Deputy Corporation Counsel Tracy Fujita-Villarosa—who advises both the Liquor Commission and the Salary Commission—stepped in and explained that the Salary Commission had asked them for their opinion on giving Silva a raise because their charter requires “consultation” with any commission that has control over a department head.
“They sent one or two memos out,” she said.
Ultimately, the commissioners voted to send one or two of their own members to the next Salary Commission hearing that would deal with department head salaries, though Commissioner Fran Meshulam—who attended such hearings in the past—didn’t think it would do much good.
“They’re very disorganized,” she said.