Hawai‘i County’s top leadership to get pay raises for first time in 5 years

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The top leadership in Hawai‘i County government, including the Mayor and County Council, will get their first annual raises since 2018.

These positions will receive a 22.44% inflation adjustment increase starting Jan. 1 and a 5% pay raise in July.

Hawai‘i County Salary Commission Chair Steven Pavao attributed the steep hike in raises to the commission’s failure to meet over the years, resulting in its inability to provide the raises incrementally.

The failure to meet was a result of unappointed commission positions by the mayor. With nine commissioner seats, state law requires at least half of the commissioners to be present for meetings to take place. 

“It feels like what we’ve done was right and equitable,” Pavao said of the commission’s decision on the raises.


While the county’s top executives haven’t had a pay increase, union county employees have received regular negotiated raises from 2018 to 2023, Pavao said during an October meeting.

The County voted 8-0 during its Dec. 22 meeting to approve the increases in leadership’s salary with Commissioner Judy Greenbaum absent. The hike in covered (official) positions for fiscal year 2024 is $484,107, which is approximately .06% of the county’s operating budget.

Pavao said he’s proud of the process as everyone had good input in the discussion.

Mayor Mitch Roth he is responsible for finding appointments for 44 boards and commissions. The salary commission, the mayor said, is difficult to fill as applicants not only have to disclose their finances but they are confirmed before the county council.


“Some people don’t want to go before council,” Roth said.

The pay raise slated for the start of the fiscal year 2025, occurring on July 1, 2024, amounts to $264,216, another .03% of the overall budget.

The commission has the authority to review and set compensation for all county executive positions, including elected and appointed positions of directors and deputy directors.

Roth, who currently makes $162,582, will start making $199,068 beginning Jan. 1. He will get another 5% raise increase in July which will bring his salary to $209,028.


Police Chief Ben Moszkowicz started with the Hawai‘i Island police in January following the retirement of Chief Paul Feirrera. With a salary of $153,270, he took a pay cut from his job at the Honolulu Police Department. His pay will increase to $187,668 in January, and to $197,052 in July.

Hawaiʻi County council members currently make $70,008 and that will rise to $85,728 in January and $90,024 in July. The county council chair now makes $77,016, with its pay jumping to $94,308 in January and $99,024 in July.

Hawai‘i County prosecuting attorney Kelden Waltjen currently makes $153, 228. Starting in January he’ll earn $187,620. In July he’ll bump up to $197,004.

Fire Chief Kazuo Todd currently makes $151,200 and will start making $185,136 in January. His annual salary will increase to $194,400 in July.

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a full-time reporter for Pacific Media Group. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat.

Tiffany can be reached at
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