Tuesday, July 6, 2010


HI-HO HI-HO, IT’S OFF FROM WORK WE GO: When Kaua`i Police Department (KPD) Chief Darryl Perry has a gripe against Mayor Bernard Carvalho’s administration he doesn’t have to look far for his lap dog Paul Curtis, police beat reporter for the local newspaper.

So following the first Kaua`i county “furlough Friday” Perry made sure Curtis got the message out loud and clear that, despite the fact that police officers and firefighters were spared furloughs supposedly to maintain public safety, because civilian employees were not spared “the vacancies (among KPD civilian personnel) coupled with the furlough days will have a negative impact on service delivery”.

But what was most interesting was not the article itself but the one comment on the article left at the paper’s web site which, unlike the usual bombastic drivel in the paper’s comment section, went right to the point in questioning county furloughs.

Francine1 said:

I was under the impression that Furloughs aren't supposed to be affecting Fire or Police Agencies.... I was informed by a former KPD Officer, who was also a former County Council member that the County of Kaua`i has a Budget Surplus. So I'm wondering why Mayor Carvalho felt the need for the Furloughs. Is it a monkey-see, monkey-do move; to follow the other Counties or is the County of Kaua`i really in that bad shape?You keep hearing how the Economy is rebounding on Kaua`i because Unemployment rates are dropping. With these latest County Furloughs, one would think not. We, the people of Kaua`i are not being told the true story.... Which leads one to believe it's all Politics and another way to screw the people who are supposed to be serving the Public.

Gee, ya think?

As a matter of fact, in a presentation made at one of the non-televised budget hearings and repeated in part in a later, televised meeting, councilperson Tim Bynum revealed that not only is there a surplus but there is a huge surplus and Kaua`i county is virtually awash with cash.

In governmental budgeting the widely accepted rule of thumb is that you need to keep a surplus of 15% above the appropriated budget. In other words if your budget is $150 million you should have $22.5 million in reserve for emergencies and in case other unforeseen contingencies come up.

But Kaua`i is projected to have fully 35% above the amount budgeted for 2010-11.

So why the furloughs?

Back in January Bynum began asking that the administration come before the council to inform them about what was going to happen if, as had been threatened, the legislature decided to “scoop” the usual payment from the transient accommodations tax (TAT) that the county receives in order to mitigate some of the expenses of services for visitors.

He also wanted to see generally what kind of fiscal shape we were in, all to get a head start on the then upcoming budget sessions in April, especially given the predicted “dire economic conditions”.

But he was blocked at every turn by both the administration which kept asking for delays and deferments and by the Chair of the Budget Committee Darryl Kaneshiro who, since it was his committee, kept allowing the deferrals.

This kept going on until April making the attempt to get the head start moot.

At the same time, as many will remember, Carvalho and the other county mayors went to the legislature to lobby for their share of the TAT, an effort that was eventually successful.

But what many may not remember is the public statements by leadership in both the house and senate to the effect that, while the state had been furloughing teachers and expected to start other furloughs for other state employees, the counties had no such plans and therefore didn’t seem to need the TAT.

That was when the mayors met secretly with the legislative leadership coming out of those meetings with their share of the TAT intact. And shortly after Carvalho announced furloughs for county employees.

You’d have to be a complete idiot to think there was no quid pro quo saying that in exchange for the TAT money, Kaua`i would furlough workers whether we needed to or not.

Francine1 ends her comment by saying

We, the people of Kaua`i are not being told the true story... Which leads one to believe it's all Politics and another way to screw the people who are supposed to be serving the Public... So who do you vote for when the election comes along? Because you don't really know who's telling you the truth or who's just telling you what they think you want to hear, just to get their vote. It's just another normal day on Kaua`i. Aloha!

Aloha indeed. Go forth and wonder no more.

No comments: