Kauai firefighters nearing raises as council committee advances new contracts

Kauai firefighters nearing raises as council committee advances new contracts
(Source: Kauai.Gov/File Image)

LIHUE, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) -Kauai County firefighters are one step closer to getting a bump in pay and bonuses.

A council committee voted Wednesday to advance a new two-year contract for firefighters, which factors in raises.

Kauai’s approval is key because an agreement secured by the Hawaii Firefighters Association applies to firefighters statewide. But it must be approved by all four counties first.

The other three counties have already signed off on the contract which includes a two percent raise every year for the next two years, bonuses, and an increase in regular pay based on years of service.

Despite being willing to support firefighters, some Kauai lawmakers are afraid the county can’t afford it.

“For the most part we want to see salaries increase with the cost of living, but you know, where does it go, where does it end? How high should it be?” Chair Arryl Kaneshiro said. “For me, it’s just looking at the overall cost of an employee at the county.”

The council committee heard from firefighters across the state urging them to honor the deal, which was finalized by an arbitrator.

“We’re trying to do our best in managing the department. In this particular work, these firefighters are worth every penny,” Kilipaki Vaughan said.

The full council is set to vote on the plan next week.

This come just a few weeks after the Hawaii County Council approved a similar deal.

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