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.

The state’s watchdog agencies have relatively small staffs, but their top officials still command significant six-figure salaries.

The latest additions to Civil Beat’s salary database include 24 employees of the State Auditor’s Office, 11 employees of the State Ethics Commission and 13 employees of the State Ombudsman’s Office.

They join more than 2,000 sworn officers of the Honolulu Police Department plus employees of the state Senate, House of Representatives and Legislative Reference Bureau who are in the 2020 database so far, with some big additions planned next week.

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.

Click here to load this Caspio Online Database.

Auditor’s Office

The Auditor’s Office was established in 1950 during Hawaii’s first constitutional convention to help eliminate waste and inefficiency, provide the Legislature with a check against the powers of the executive branch and ensure public money is spent according to legislative intent. To ensure independence, the auditor is appointed for an eight-year term by a majority vote of each house, and can be removed only by a two-thirds vote of legislators.

State Auditor Les Kondo speaks about the first HART Audit.
Les Kondo has been the state auditor since 2016. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2019

The office conducts financial, program and performance audits of state government agencies and undertakes other studies and investigations as directed by the Legislature.

Among the highest-profile work of late is a series of audits of the Honolulu rail project.

Auditor Les Kondo is being paid $154,812 for the 2020 fiscal year, up from $144,552 during the 2018 fiscal year.

Deputy auditor Daria Loy-Goto is making $142,416 while administrative deputy auditor Ronald Shiigi is earning $131,940.

Other six-figure earners in the office are Megan Johnson, general counsel, $113,040; Jon Hashimoto, $111,462; David Choo, editor, $108,654; and Valerie Iinuma, audit manager, $107,622.

The lowest-paid employee is a secretary making $56,658.

State Ethics Commission Staff

The State Ethics Commission administers the State Ethics Code and Lobbyists Law, providing guidance on such matters as whether a gift can be accepted; whether a situation constitutes a conflict of interest or other ethics violation; how to file financial, gift and lobbying disclosures; and use of state resources by employees.

The commission recently levied a $23,106 fine against former Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Rowena Akana for 47 violations of the ethics code.

Another commission investigation recently led to the resignation of a Department of Land and Natural Resources manager.

The paid staff is overseen by five volunteer commissioners.

Executive Director Daniel Gluck is making $147,444 for the 2020 fiscal year, up from $144,552 two years ago. By law the executive directors of all three agencies are paid the same, but Gluck declined a salary increase that would have taken effect July 1.

Susan Yoza, the associate director, earns $132,456.

The other six-figure earners on the staff include attorneys Virginia Chock and Nancy Neuffer, who both make $106,452.

The lowest-paid full-time employee is a secretary making $55,428, while a part-time investigator earns $44,400.

State Ombudsman

The State Ombudsman’s Office is an independent agency of the Legislature that investigates complaints about state and county agencies, serving as an intermediary between citizens and the agencies.

State ombudsman Robin Matsunaga is paid $154,812, up from $144,552 two years ago.

The office’s only other six-figure earner is Melissa Chee, first assistant ombudsman, who makes $140,100, up from $125,748 two years ago.

The lowest-paid employees are three administrative assistants ranging from $43,845 to $57,708.

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