Answering the Question: Will Maui Be Faced With Higher Salary Obligations with a County Manager?

by Mark Hyde

Will the County be Faced with Huge Salary and Severance Obligations like that Incurred by the University of Hawaii if it Hires a County Manager?

In testimony to the Council on June 3, 2016, a member of the Special Committee raised concern that the County might incur large severance liabilities should the Council hire a professional manager, citing the University of Hawaii’s recent experience with termination of the employment agreements with its president and football coach.

The ICMA's (International City/County Manager Association) 2015 Salary Survey dispels and puts this concern into perspective.  Relevant data from this report shows that for cities and counties with populations between 100,000 and 249,999:

Median Salary for a County CAO (Chief Administrative Officer) is $167,682 ($208,575 for a city CAO)
Most have benefit packages like that of other local government employees
 88% have an employment contract
 85% are eligible for severance within the following ranges: up to 3 months of base pay - 7%; up to 6 months of base pay - 51%; up to 1 year - 22%; other (undefined) - 23%.

So, including 15% who have none, about 23rds have 6 six months or less.   Applying 6 months severance to an estimated salary of $200,000 for a manager, anticipated severance could be $100,000.