After less than 2 months on the job, Maui’s police chief is asking for a big raise
WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There’s growing concern among Maui residents regarding the new police chief’s request for a raise.
Last week, after 50 days on the job, Maui Police Chief John Pelletier asked the police commission for $195,000 a year instead of his current annual salary of $158,851 — a 23% raise.
However, commissioners believed he deserved more and recommended a 29% raise — which would come out to $205,000.
Pelletier told police commissioners that he took a pay cut when he left Las Vegas as a police captain.
Councilwoman Yuki Lei Sugimura criticized the request and said Pelletier knew what he signed up for when he applied for the job.
“We weren’t asking you to come. You decided to come. And if you do, then you should have known what you’re walking into,” Sugimura said.
Pelletier was sworn in on Dec. 15.
“The harder you work, it should be the more you get, and in this particular case, he’s working very hard,” commissioner Mark Redeker said last week.
In addition to a pay cut, Pelletier cited Hawaii’s high cost of living, and said two of his assistant chiefs make more than him.
“Depending on when they promoted and different things, that’s the salary that they have,” Pelletier told commissioners during the special meeting last week.
Commissioners passed the recommendation unanimously.
“When your people that are below you are making more than the leader, it sets up a funky dynamic,” said commissioner Stacy Moniz.
The chair of the Maui Chapter Board of Directors for SHOPO, the police union, said officers are currently working without a contract and haven’t seen a salary boost in the last seven months.
“This whole topic has been a morale killer for officers,” said Sgt. Nick Krau. “Majority of the members, they’re angry, they’re frustrated.”
The pay hike recommendation heads to the Maui Salary Commission Friday morning for a vote.
Sugimura said she plans to testify at the meeting.
“To have this kind of uproar in the community is disruptive and it should be smooth sailing forward, I thought. So, I look forward to seeing what is going to happen tomorrow at the Salary Commission,” Sugimura said.
The meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. and is open for public testimony.
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