- Special Projects
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.
Unlike some states, Hawaii isn’t crazy enough about college football to make its head coach the top-paid public employee.
But Nick Rolovich does do well enough to be the third-highest-paid employee of the University of Hawaii system. He made a base salary of $425,004 last season and has a shot at several bonuses if the Rainbow Warriors perform well this season. In fact, he earned a $7,500 bonus Saturday when his team upset Arizona in the season opener.
Only two UH employees make more in base pay — UH Manoa medical school dean Jerris Hedges, $547,704, and law school dean Aviam Soifer, $427,344. Two years ago, Hedges made $534,849 and Soifer $416,256.
They are among 7,424 University of Hawaii employees statewide just added to the Civil Beat salary database. Six-figure salaries are earned by at least 1,639 of them, including 1,086 faculty members. Janitors and groundskeepers tend to be the lowest paid at a little over $40,000.
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.
The UH system includes 10 universities and community colleges. Here’s a look at each of those schools, plus the statewide university and community college systems.
• The UH systemwide organization includes 485 employees in the database, and at least 48 of them earn salaries of at least $100,000. President David Lassner is the top paid at $395,004 (up from $375,000 two years ago).
Six vice-presidents come next, including Vassilis Syrmos, Research and Innovation, $256,452; Donald Straney, Academic Planning and Policy, $256,164; Kalbert Young, Budget and Finance, $245,400; Carrie Okinaga, Legal Affairs, $243,372; Jan Gouvela, Administration, $241,236; and Garret Yoshimi, Information Technology, $238,308.
• The community college systemwide organization pays six-figure salaries to at least nine of its 50 employees.
Highest-paid is Erika Lynn Lacro, vice president for community colleges, at $220,008.
Other top earners include associate vice presidents Michael Unebasami, $201,060, and Peter Quigley, $169,512.
• The University of Hawaii Manoa is the flagship campus with 4,264 employees listed in the database. Of those, at least 1,285 earn six-figure salaries, including 879 faculty members.
After Hedges, Soifer and Rolovich, the highest paid are Randall Holcombe, research institute director, $420,996; Vernon Roley, business school dean, $404,568; and researchers Carl-Wilhelm Vogel, $366,480, and Michele Carbone, $365,520.
The top-paid faculty members are Virginia Hinshaw and Ralph Shohet, $365,520.
• The University of Hawaii Hilo has 539 workers in the database. At least 89 make six-figures, including 63 faculty members.
Chancellor Bonnie Irwin is highest paid at $280,000. Straney, now a systemwide vice president, made $319,248 as the Hilo chancellor two years ago.
Carolyn Ma, a Hilo dean, is paid $248,436, while the top-paid faculty member is Deborah Taira, $172,260.
• The University of Hawaii West Oahu has 261 employees in the database. At least 33 are making six figures, including 18 faculty members.
Chancellor Maenette Benham is top paid at $240,936. Two years ago, Benham made $235,008.
Kristina Ying Lu is the highest-paid faculty member at $152,592.
• Maui College, which offers two- and four-year degrees, has 241 workers in the database. At least 17 make at least $100,000, including 12 faculty members.
Chancellor Lui Hokoana is top-paid at $167,568. Two years ago, Hokoana made $160,320.
The highest-paid faculty members are Denise Cohen and Nancy Johnson, $140,304.
• Kapiolani Community College has 403 employees in the database. At least 54 make six-figures, including 46 faculty members.
Chancellor Louise Pagotto is highest-paid at $180,000. She made $170,016 two years ago.
Dale Oda is the top-paid faculty member at $156,564.
• Leeward Community College employees number 343 in the database. At least 24 make six-figures, including 18 faculty members.
Carlos Peñaloza became chancellor on July 1 but is not listed in the database. The top-paid employee who is listed is Vice-Chancellor Della Teraoka at $139,428.
The highest-paid faculty member is Stuart Uessato at $129,960.
• Honolulu Community College lists 306 employees in the database, and at least 34 make six figures, including 19 faculty members.
Chancellor Karen Chung is top paid at $167,016. Two years ago, then-chancellor Erica Lynn Lacro made $168,084.
Wayne Lewis is the highest paid faculty member at $140,112.
• Hawaii Community College in Hilo has 217 workers in the database. At least 18 make at least $100,000, including 13 faculty members.
The chancellor, Rachel Solemsaas, is highest-paid at $174,876. Two years ago, she made $167,520.
The top-paid faculty member is Laura Ann Hill, $129,228.
• Windward Community College has 158 employees in the database, with at least 18 making six figures, including 13 faculty members.
Chancellor Ardis Eschenberg is highest-paid at $167,016. Two years ago, then-chancellor Douglas Dykstra made $169,800.
Joseph Ciotti is the highest-paid faculty member at $130,428.
• Kauai Community College has 157 workers in the database. At least 10 are making six figures, including five faculty members.
Helen Cox is the chancellor and highest-paid employee at $172,680. Two years ago, she made $165,360.
The highest-paid faculty member is Mario Fabro, $115,812.
There are upsides to being a nonprofit as we carry out our public-service mission. We don’t have a paywall on our site, charge a subscription fee, or clutter our articles with ads. But this also means that reader support sustains every aspect of what we do. Without you, we don’t exist. It’s as simple as that. By donating, you’re supporting everyone on staff—and allowing unbiased, factual, honest journalism to thrive. If you value our work, will you make a tax-deductible donation today?