Editor’s note: One of Civil Beat’s most popular features, the database of public employee salaries, is taking shape for the 2020 fiscal year, which began July 1. We update the salary database when new union contracts are signed and new budgets are put in place reflecting salary increases.

Elected legislators are the best known employees of the Hawaii Senate and House, but far from the highest paid.

Almost all of the state’s 25 senators and 51 representatives receive $62,604 annually in base pay.

But at least 35 unelected Senate employees and 37 House employees earn more than that. And depending on where they land in their salary ranges, potentially dozens more employees are getting higher pay than the politicians.

Of course, Hawaii has a part-time Legislature and many of the lawmakers have other jobs.

The salaries of 175 House employees and 130 Senate employees have been added to our fiscal year 2020 database of public employees, which debuted last week with the names, ranks and pay of more than 2,000 sworn officers of the Honolulu Police Department.

To look up state employees salaries by department, use the form below:

Click here to load this Caspio Online Database.

Since 2010, Civil Beat has been publishing databases with information about tens of thousands of public employees. Salaries are a major component of state and county budgets and we think it’s important for taxpayers to know how their money is being spent.

A few more notes on legislators’ base pay: In addition to the fact that many hold other jobs, neighbor island lawmakers receive per diems of $225 during the legislative sessions that begin in January and adjourn in May.

And the top lawmaker in each chamber earns more. Senate President Ron Kouchi and House Speaker Scott Saiki get $70,104 annually.

Hawaii legislators earn less than some of their unelected colleagues, but are still among the best compensated in the country, with pay raises in the offing. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Legislative Salaries To Rise

Hawaii legislators are among the best compensated in the country when it comes to base salary, and they will soon be paid more. The Hawaii Commission on Salaries recently recommended that annual salaries be gradually increased over six years to $74,160.

The salaries of the Senate president and House speaker will increase to $83,052 during the same period.

Still, there are Senate and House employees were are already making plenty more. They include:

• Brian Takeshita, chief clerk and highest-paid House employee at $149,676.

• Nandana Kalupahana, House Finance Committee clerk, $134,988.

• Casey Hines, Senate majority office director, $134,328.

• Rod Tanonaka, House sergeant-at-arms, $133,656.

• Ruperto Juarez, House assistant chief clerk, $129,804.

• Carol Taniguchi, Senate chief clerk, $125,652.

Another Agency Heard From

The updated database also includes 39 employees of the Legislative Reference Bureau, an agency that conducts research and provides a variety of services to legislators, legislative committees, and in some cases, the public.

The bureau’s director, Charlotte Carter-Yamauchi, earns $154,812 annually.

The next highest paid are Shawn Nakama, first assistant director, $142,416; and John Morsey, assistant director for revision of statutes, $122,000.

The pay of the bureau’s 11 research attorneys ranges widely from $62,400 to $100,000.

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