CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU
715 SOUTH KING STREET, SUITE 211, HONOLULU, HAWAII 96813-3091
Phone: (808) 768-7786 ∙ Fax: (808) 768-7768 ∙ EMAIL: email@example.com
CHARLES W. TOTTO
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & LEGAL COUNSEL
November 17, 2013
REQUEST AND JUSTIFICATION FOR ADDITIONAL ETHICS COMMISSION
RESOURCES FOR FISCAL YEAR 2015
The Administration’s budget restrictions are that there will be no increases above FY14
funding unless thoroughly justified (or the funds are for priority projects involving sewers, parks,
roads, transit oriented development or the bus). Below staff submits a bare-bones budget for the
Commission’s discussion and approval.
Although requested in the past, staff is not asking for a second investigator or a training
coordinator for FY15. In addition, we have knocked down our requested professional services
by $40,000 (to $30,000) and saved $28,500 because the city is not paying employee benefits to
our investigator as she is on a personal services contract.
Staff’s FY15 budget request is to:
(1) Reallocate the Investigator II position to an Investigator IV;
(2) Create and fill the Associate Executive Director and Legal Counsel position; and
(3) Fill the Associate Legal Counsel position.
These changes could be made for as low as $75,000 over the amount COR recommends.
It is important to educate COR and the Administration about our workload problems. For
example, the average annual number of complaints investigated jumped from 17 in FY02 to 86
in FY13, or over 400%. There was no commensurate increase in resources for the Commission.
In fact, during the same time period, the EC lost its part time lawyer but gained a full-time one.
Finally, this year we were granted an investigator. FY14 will show another jump in workload of
at least 20% over FY13. And that estimate is without the work that will be generated by about
3,500 (out of 6,500) employees who have yet to receive their initial mandatory ethics training
STAFF RECOMMENDATION VS. COR RECOMMENDATION
Agreement or agreement in principle between COR and Commission staff:
Salaries for attorneys and Legal Clerk III.
Create and fill new position of Legal Clerk I.
Per the Managing Director, some funds left over from COR’s ORI investigation may
be made available for the EC’s investigation of ORI.
Additional office space for Legal Clerk I.
Create and fill a new position for an Associate Executive Director/Legal Counsel.
COR agrees only if the current Associate Legal Counsel position is reallocated
resulting in the EC being limited to 2 lawyers. Staff requests 3 attorneys total.
No position from COR:
Reallocate Investigator II position to Investigator IV.
Justification: The Investigator II salary is aimed at attracting candidates with very
little investigative skill and experience. They will need constant instruction by an attorney,
will not have the various needed interview techniques, and will require guidance in basic
questions such as what level of proof is needed, what are the elements of the offense, who
and how to interview, where to find documentary evidence in the city, how city government
and the Commission work, etc.
Our office requires an experienced and skilled investigator because investigation is
the bottleneck for work efficiency in our office. In three months at the EC, one skilled,
experienced investigator examined and closed 20 complaint cases.
Additional cost over current position: About $10,500, if the Investigator IV position
is given a personal services contract (meaning the city would not have to pay benefits worth
60% of the employee’s salary).
COR and EC do not agree:
Create and fill an Associate Executive Director/Legal Counsel. COR will support
only a reallocation of the current ALC position to an Associate Executive Director/Legal
Justification: This approach is based on that used by the Hawaii State Ethics
Commission to share the legal, policy, training, lobbying and administrative tasks between
the two senior attorneys. Our workload has grown rapidly in all these areas warranting a
high-level associate with more responsibility in all areas. Furthermore, government agencies
require continuity, and having and Associate EDLC would provide the needed institutional
and historical knowledge to bridge the gap between one EDLC and the next.
This new position would also resolve an unfair pay issue resulting from different pay
scales for the ALC and COR deputies. By Charter and action of the Department of Human
Resources, the ALC’s pay is set on the SR26 range. At present, the top pay on this range is
$82,128. The range may increase to about $88,500 in FY15 as a result of collective
bargaining. On the other hand, the salaries for deputies at COR are set by the Honolulu
Salary Commission. Some COR deputies’ salaries exceed $90,000 and according to the
Salary Commission they may reach the salary paid to the COR department head, $126,000.
The problem is that the ALC’s pay cannot go above $88,500, but the deputies’ salaries can
greatly exceed that amount. This could result in disparate pay for similar work and it being
difficult for the EC to retain high achieving attorneys.
With the EC’s approval, staff tried to correct the Charter provision through the
Charter amendment provision. Council Chair Martin stated it would be impractical to expect
a Charter amendment on this and asked staff to work with DHR on creating a new position,
the Associate EDLC. DHR suggested the position may be eligible for an EM-3 rating, which
currently pays between $70,000 and $117,000 and would remove the pay inequity. The
position would be funded at the ALC’s salary level for FY15.
Additional cost over current budget: No additional cost in FY15 for this position.
Fill the ALC position. Assuming that the current ALC applies for and is selected as
the Associate EDLC, the next step would be for to hire a relatively junior attorney to aid in
both legal and investigative work.
Justification: No one can reasonably expect the Commission’s workload to jump by
over 400% per year without commensurate increases in resources.
Additional cost over current budget: This will likely require a salary, along with
office space, bar dues, computer, etc., or a total of about $65,000, plus benefits. COR could
provide a more precise cost estimate.