Honolulu Personal Service Contracts Examined

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Executive assistants hired temporarily by the City and County of Honolulu make more money than most of their civil engineer, police officer, project manager and chemist counterparts.

According to a quarterly report prepared by the city Department of Human Resources, five executive assistants hired under personal services contracts made or make between $6,848 and $8,750 per month. Another assistant earns $65.78 an hour, but is not a full-time employee.

The highest paid contracted civil engineer makes $7,700 a month. Most contracted police officers earn $19.73 per hour; project managers average $5,760 per month and even a chemist made only $3,511 each month.

Personal service contracts are awarded if there is a special, or unique need essential to public interest. The contracts cannot exceed a year and are generally used when the needed service can't be obtained by "normal civil service recruitment procedures," according to Revised Ordinances of Honolulu. (Read about the pay of other city workers and find a searchable database of all employees in an earlier Civil Beat article.)

Basically, the city is given more flexibility in hiring its employees under personal service contracts.

The contract report offers a glimpse into what types of workers departments feel are necessary, but aren't on staff. There's great latitude in who can be hired, with clerks, typists and investigators among those included. Most departments take advantage of the contracts, with police coming out on top.

The Honolulu Police Department hired 55 workers on a temporary basis. The Board of Water Supply hired 44 and the Department of Transportation Services contracted 31. Twenty-one other departments hired between one and 29 people.

A few positions proved to be more lucrative than executive assistant, but not many.

For example, Terrance Ware, a program administrator with the Department of Planning and Permitting, has the highest monthly salary among contractors, making $11,334 a month. Ware was contracted for a full year, from Sept. 1, 2010, to Aug. 31, 2011. His yearly salary comes to about $136,000.

Richard Torres with transportation services was contracted as an "Assistant Transit Project Officer" for the period July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011. Torres makes $9,359 per month, or about $112,300 a year.

Executive assistants, however, rivaled those numbers. And almost across the board to boot.

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