Kailua-Kona, Hawaii – VIDEO by David Corrigan
The Big Island’s mayor is expressing his growing frustration with the headlines of one local newspaper as the county moves into the rough economic waters of next year’s budget.
Mayor Billy Kenoi took issue with one recent headline published in the West Hawaii Today during Tuesday’s Kona Town Meeting, which read “Now hiring – Kenoi admin keeps on keepin’ on.” The headline stood in direct contrast to headlines about Kenoi’s budget efforts in other local papers the same day (“Big Isle mayor seeks freeze on executive raises” – Honolulu Advertiser, “County eyes worker furloughs” – Hawaii Tribune- Herald)
It was not the first time the mayor has railed against the editorial policy of the West Hawaii Today, which serves the Kona side of the island and whose readership sometimes feel distanced from county government since the county seat is located in Hilo.
Kenoi’s appearance at the Old Kona Airport to answer questions from the public is a part of the administration’s ongoing effort to lessen the feelings of distance. It was also a chance for the mayor to try to set the record straight about plans for executive salaries, new hires, and unfilled positions. The Q&A was moderated by Fred Housel, president of Community Enterprises Inc., organizers of the Kona Town Meeting.
The Salary Commission will consider Kenoi’s request to withhold the 3 percent pay raises the county’s top executives get on their second anniversary and every year thereafter today at their meeting in Hilo.