It’s a lot of information, but here’s how to slice and dice it to find what you’re looking for.

Civil Beat’s Public Employee Salary Database can tell you far more than what government workers are being paid in the islands.

With just a few keystrokes, the possibilities for slicing and dicing the database are vast.

For starters, a single click on the red SEARCH button pulls up the entire database — hundreds of thousands of entries spanning selected fiscal years dating back to 2011.

It’s an ungainly queue that you can escape by clicking on “Search Again” in red letters at the top.

To tame the database, use the pull-downs to search by departments, job titles and fiscal years. If desired, type in names or salary ranges as well.

Each time you hit that SEARCH button, the database spits out a new queue according to your specifications. At the bottom of the queue is the total number of entries you’ve tapped into.

And always, clicking Search Again enables your escape when you want to modify your search or set out in an entirely different direction.

Here’s a closer look at the options that you can use individually or, to better effect, simultaneously.

Public Employees Salary Database

Search the salaries of public employees.

Database updated: October 3, 2023.
Check back for updated public employee salaries for the 2024 fiscal year.

Department: There are 19 “departments,” ranging from tiny (Hawaii Ethics Commission) to mammoth (City and County of Honolulu). For total state numbers, click on “Select All.”

Sub-Department: Three of these king-sized “departments” have numerous “sub-departments.” Honolulu, for instance, has 29. If you don’t want a “sub-department,” keep this section on “Select All.”

Note: Some entities like the Royal Hawaiian Band that previously were searchable under the sub-department menu can now be found under the Office of the Mayor. The database will be adjusted for consistency in due course.

First Name: You’d typically fill this in along with the next category of “last name” when you’re looking for an individual employee. While the database sometimes includes middle names or initials, they are not essential to find who you’re looking for.

Last Name: Again, this category is generally for finding individuals. With the names entered, you can track them through the years of their public employment as long as you don’t have a specific fiscal year selected.

If you fill in “last name” without “first name,” you’ll find everyone with the same last name, in some cases relatives.

Civil Beat Updates Searchable Public Employee Salary Database

Title: This is a pull-down list that only comes up after you enter a “department” and/or “sub-department.” Some lists are quite long, reflecting how that agency labels its positions. But this is a useful option for the bigger organizations, offering the chance, for example, to separate teachers from other Department of Education employees.

Salary Range Start: A good tool if you want to enter a dollar figure and find out which employees earn that amount or more. But remember that the database contains wide salary ranges for many employees. If you enter $50,000 here and an individual worker’s range is $40,000-$60,000, they won’t show up even though they might actually earn more than $50,000.

Some smaller departments provide specific salaries for all their employees; in other cases, exact figures are available only for the high-end employees who are exempt from collective bargaining.

Salary Range End: Enter an amount and see everyone who earns it or less. The salary ranges of individual employees are not a problem here, because the high end would still be less than the dollar figure entered.

Fiscal Year: Most of your searches will involve a single fiscal year. The only other choice, “Select All,” provides all fiscal years. That’s useful if you’re tracking a certain individual over the years or if you want to know, say, who the highest-paid current and former employees have been over the last decade.

The database contains information for fiscal years 2024 (partial so far), 2022, 2020, 2018, 2016, 2013, 2012 and 2011.

Those are your options, and again, you’ll generally want to employ two or more simultaneously as you explore the data.

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