Executives and managers at the University of Hawaii will take pay cuts starting Nov. 1 as part of an effort to shore up the university’s budget.

Managers making up to $200,000 a year will take a 9.2% pay cut while those making more than that amount will take an additional 11% pay cut on their salaries over $200,000, according to a presentation university budget chief Kalbert Young gave to a UH Board of Regents committee Thursday.

UH President David Lassner, who directed the 216 executives to take cuts, will also reduce his salary by 20%.

University of Hawaii President David Lassner during undergrad commencement. 16 may 2015. photograph by Cory Lum/Civil Beat
University of Hawaii President David Lassner and other managers will take pay cuts starting Nov. 1. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The cuts are expected to save $2.2 million this fiscal year in the university’s more than $900 million operating budget. Like other state departments, UH’s finances are not expected to fare well given the economic downturn brought on by the pandemic.

“This is not a small thing. I don’t want to make light of it,” said Jan Sullivan, chair of the board’s budget committee. “It underscores how important the leadership at the university views this incoming crisis.”

The cuts will come exactly one year after several top executives at UH got big pay bumps.

Young noted that UH’s budget still sets aside money for faculty pay increases that were previously bargained for and approved by the Legislature.

Gov. David Ige has started negotiations with public employee labor unions over possible furloughs that could go into effect later this year. The governor is requesting two furlough days a month, Young said.

The announcement of pay cuts for top managers comes at a time UH Manoa, the system’s largest campus, is grappling with proposed cuts to certain programs, which has already gotten pushback from students and faculty.

The administration has begun a formal consultation process with stakeholder groups including the unions regarding the cuts and program reorganizations.

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