Editor’s note: One of Civil Beat’s most popular features, the database of public employee salaries, is now complete 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.

More than 8,000 employees of the City and County of Honolulu have been added to Civil Beat’s salary database, including three highly paid officials who haven’t been on the job lately.

Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro office interview.
Keith Kaneshiro Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2017

Oahu’s chief prosecutor, Keith Kaneshiro, one of his top deputies, Chasid Sapolu, and Corporation Counsel Donna Leong have all been caught up in a federal corruption investigation that already has resulted in the convictions of the police chief and his prosecutor wife.

Kaneshiro is now being paid $176,688 annually, up from $164,136. He’s been on paid leave since March. Sapolu receives $158,472, despite being on paid leave since December 2018. And Leong, on paid leave since January, makes $166,560.

They are among at least 247 Honolulu employees making six-figure salaries.

Click here to load this Caspio Online Database.

Since 2010, we have been publishing a database with the names, titles and salaries of 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.

Previously we published salary information for 2,006 sworn officers of the Honolulu Police Department, and now we’ve added 539 other HPD employees. An earlier installment also detailed the pay for employees of the Honolulu Legislative Branch and the Board of Water Supply.

Honolulu Hale top view. 1 may 2017
Honolulu Hale is Oahu’s center of municipal power, but many of the top-paid employees work elsewhere. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The newly released information includes the salaries of 117 employees of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, whose director, Andrew Robbins, receives $316,999. Two years ago, then-interim director Krishna Murthy got $400,00.

Still Robbins is the highest-paid Honolulu employee, followed by Medical Examiner Christoper Happy at $310,200, up from $288,192 two years ago.

Next highest-paid is the deputy medical examiner, Masahiko Kobayashi, at $273,024. That’s a huge raise for Kobayashi, whose salary range was $86,304 to $127,740 two years ago when he was an anatomic forensic pathologist. At that time, then-Deputy ME Rachel Lange was making $230,592.

Then comes Police Chief Susan Ballard at $205,800 (she started at $191,184 when she was promoted in November 2018) and Fire Chief Manuel Neves at $199,272, up from $185,112 two years ago.

Deputy police chiefs Jonathan Grems and John McCarthy earn $196,296, while Deputy Fire Chief Lionel Camara receives $190,032.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell is paid $186,432, up from $173,184 two years ago. Managing Director Roy Amemiya gets $178,320 after earning $165,672 two years ago.

Thirteen department heads are paid $166,560, up from $154,728 two years ago.

In addition to Leong, they include:

  • Nelson Koyanagi, Budget and Fiscal Services
  • Pamela Witty-Oakland, Community Services
  • Sherilyn Kajiwara, Customer Services
  • Robert Kroning, Design and Construction
  • James Howe, Emergency Services
  • Guy Kaulukukui, Enterprise Services
  • Lorita Kahikina, Environmental Services
  • Ross Sasamura, Facity Management
  • Mark Wong, Information Technology
  • Sandra Pfund, Land Management
  • Michele Nekota, Parks and Recreation
  • Wes Frysztacki, Transportation Services

Thirteen deputy department heads receive $158,040, compared to $146,808 two years ago.

The database also includes 208 salaried and hourly employees of the Royal Hawaiian Band, described on its website as “the only full-time municipal band in the United States.” It performs and marches in more than 300 concerts and parades yearly, including events at Iolani Palace on Fridays and the Kapiolani Park Bandstand on Sundays.

Bandmaster Clarke Bright is paid $146,952, up from $136,512 two years ago. Thirty-one musicians receive a range of $48,948 to $107,364, and 175 others earn $50 per hour.

Numerous clerks in several departments are among the lowest-paid Honolulu workers at $31,200.

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