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In the first three months of 2011, the self-identified fiscal conservative from Ewa is the council member who has spent the least of his yearly allotment. However, Pearl City representative Breene Harimoto has a slightly lower per day average.
The nine-members of the council receive a $14,000 annual office contingency account for work-related expenses. Freshman council members who took office in January received only $7,000, because the fiscal year ends June 30.
Berg had $6,368 at his disposal, because he replaced former council chair Todd Apo midway through January after winning a special election. His expense report details purchases from Jan. 18 to March 29, showing that he spent a total of $952, or about $13.41 per day.
Harimoto, who spent $1,008 between Jan. 3 (inauguration day) and March 23 (his last recorded expense), spent less per day, $12.60.
Veteran Kalihi representative Romy Cachola spent $1,087 from Jan. 1 to March 24, just edging Berg on daily expenses, averaging $13.42.
Berg’s fellow-freshman, Stanley Chang, has spent the most in 2011. Between Jan. 3 and March 14, he billed $4,332, or $61 a day. The bulk of his expenses came from a mid-March trip to Washington for a legislative conference, where he spent $3,108.
All the council members, how much they have spent in 2011, and their daily spending figures are recorded below. (Figures are rounded to the nearest dollar.)
Total Spent in 2011
Days Covered by Expense Report (2011)
Average Daily Spending
Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo
For the most part, expenses reflect what one might expect from a small city office.
Coffee, creamers, cell phone bills, car mileage, paper copying, business cards and postage are among the most-often cited purchases.
A few buys stood out, offering, if nothing else, a glimpse into the mundane details of council life.
On August 31 last year, Cachola spent $10.45 for “Ant bait for staff office use.”
On July 20 and Dec. 6, Ann Kobayashi spent a total of $26 on “air fresheners”.
Freshman North Shore representative Ernie Martin one-upped his colleagues with a subscription to Civil Beat in his first month on the job.
Of those council members who served the entire fiscal year, from July 1, 2010 to the present, Cachola has spent the most. He racked up $8,716 in expenses, compared to Ikaika Anderson‘s $7,749; Kobayashi’s $7,631; and council chair Nestor Garcia‘s $7,384.
Cachola’s major expenses were a monthly $250 “car allowance,” $2,440 for an August 2010 conference in Nevada, and $2,134 for a rail conference in Portland.
One thing almost all the council members had in common was an affinity for leis.
Kobayashi was the biggest fan, spending $178 on them since Jan. 1. Martin was next, spending $127; Garcia spent $90; Berg spent $76; Harimoto spent $67; Anderson spent $58; and Cachola spent $26.
Chang and Tamayo were the only council members not to have aided the floral industry in 2011.
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