Editor’s note: This special report includes three other stories:

If spending on salaries reveals the priorities of the City and County of Honolulu, a handful of occupations land at the bottom: social services outreach, security, clerical work and engineering.

At the opposite end of the scale, the higest-paid positions include the city’s medical examiner, the mayor and the police and fire chiefs.

An analysis by Civil Beat of the 8,4611 positions in the city shows that messengers, security attendants, community service aids and engineering technicians are among the lowest-paid jobs.

As many as 22 city employees could qualify for federal nutrition assistance, based on the low end of their salary ranges. Under state guidelines that went into effect Oct. 1, a single person earning up to $24,936 is eligible for federal nutrition assistance of up to $314 a month.

Given that the city is not required to share actual salaries for union workers, it’s impossible to know the exact lineup. But the data provided to Civil Beat shows that the lowest paid employee is almost certainly an entry-level messenger. The pay for that job ranges from a low of $21,948 to $33,756 annually.

That compares to the city’s highest-paid employee, Medical Examiner William Goodhue Jr., whose annual base salary is $153,852.

The city’s Department of Human Resources website includes descriptions of most jobs, organized alphabetically, at this link.

Here’s a look at the four positions that make up the bottom 20 salaries in the city.

  • Messenger I — $21,948 to $33,756, and Messenger II — $23,688 to $36,516. “Collects, sorts, routes and delivers documents, communications, reports and other items; runs errands and may assist in routine office work. Performs messengering duties as a major and continuing assignment.” (The difference between grades I and II, according to the city, is the higher grade “requires operating a motor vehicle a substantial portion of the time,” while the lower grade doesn’t require driving and has no prior experience requirement.)

  • Security attendant I — $23,688 to $36,516. “Makes periodic rounds of inspections of buildings, grounds, and/or equipment to check against trespass, damage of theft; reports observations, unusual occurrences or property damage; requests and checks identification of after-hour callers; checks governmental vehicles within a specified area to insure windows and doors are securely locked; may perform miscellaneous tasks such as raising and lowering flags, turning lights, electrical equipment and sprinkler systems on and off.”

  • Community service aid — $24,648 to $37,968. “Initiates contacts with the elderly or other designated target groups and provides information and outreach assistance in available community and governmental resources, and refers them to social, health, recreational and similar agencies.”

  • Engineering technician I — $24,648 to $37,968. “Does routine and elementary work in engineering field surveying and inspection; learns the operation of surveying instruments. Performs manual work involved in field surveying such as clearing lines, marking and driving stakes and learns the operation of surveying instruments.”

On top of base salaries, employees receive benefits that the city says add an extra 60 percent to their salary costs. City employees can participate in health and retirement plans and earn 21 vacation days each year starting from the first year of employment. They also earn 21 sick days a year. And just as the state does, the city observes 13 paid holidays a year and 14 during an election year.

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