Mayors say state to blame for contract stall - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Mayors say state to blame for contract stall

Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares
Governor Linda Lingle Governor Linda Lingle
Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann
Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Governor Linda Lingle says the new Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA) contract is stalled because the state's mayors are dragging their feet. In response, they say the governor is pointing her finger in the wrong direction because the state is to blame.

Hawaii law requires at least one mayor to approve the new HGEA contract before union members are allowed to vote on it. But, mayors say before they can do that, the state needs to clear things up.

Remember that never-ending argument growing up with your siblings over who's turn it is to do the dishes? Well, Governor Linda Lingle and the state's mayors have the chore of an HGEA contract. Lingle says it's the mayors' turn to take a look but claims they're too busy with county issues.

"To suggest we are out of sync is totally fallacious," said Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

We caught up with Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann and Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi in Japan.

"The mayors will work with the governor and meet halfway with the union representatives," said Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi.

State mayors say they're anxious to get a contract, but are still waiting for on-going negotiation hang-ups between the state and HGEA to be resolved. They say it's the state that's stalling.

"We're ready to go, all four of us. It's a question of when those things are given to us in writing so we can clarify that and know exactly what we're signing onto," said Mayor Hannemann.

"I think not its down to one other issue which I don't want to discuss right now," said Governor Linda Lingle.

While an agreement is still close at this point, mayors say it will take a hand from both them and the state to eventually wash the plates. That way, government workers can finally get served a contract.

"Not everyone will get what they want but hopefully, everybody gets what they need," said Mayor Kenoi.

While the HGEA contract is almost done, Lingle says that's not the case with the United Public Workers union. She says because they can't reach a deal, the parties will likely go into binding arbitration.

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