Think About It: To Pay Or Not To Pay - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News, Weather and Sports

March 25, 2013

Think About It: To Pay Or Not To Pay

Money and quality... Sometimes you can't get one without the other. Sometimes you can. Over and over again the past few weeks we have seen contentious issues arise regarding pay raises or salaries for teachers, librarians, and top local officials. People who don't know the details about what it takes to find the best people for high profile positions and then pay them accordingly, reflexively say we can't afford high salaries for these positions in times of austerity.

But reality and history tells us that it's often hard to find top people for top jobs in Hawaii, and saving some money to hire perceptibly lower-quality candidates who will work for less can certainly cost you more in the long run. If comparable pay vis a vis other markets for similar positions is the baseline for how we pay certain people in Hawaii, then there really shouldn't be much arguing over what's fair. Legislators met last month with UH brass to assess salaries at UH. If legislators truly want a relatively autonomous university that attracts the best and the brightest- at all levels- it might have to back off and accept the current state of what it takes monetarily to attract those assumed top people.

And that reality needs to be realized not just when it comes to salaries at the university level- it also goes for many other state and city positions. We can save some here and there, and we should always negotiate a "fair" salary, but generically suggesting that librarians, university hierarchy, and other highly-paid officials are overpaid could result in a short-term savings with long-term losses when the wrong person is hired to save a few bucks today. Think about it…

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