Hawaiian COs earn double salaries in OT
State officials say they have no choice but to pay overtime to cover shifts to make up chronic staff shortages
By C1 Staff
HONOLULU, Hawaii — While some correctional officers are calling in sick, some are doubling their salaries through overtime.
Hawaii News Now reports that prisons in Hawaii have spent $10.7 million on overtime. The average public safety employee took home more than 26.5 percent more than their base pay in overtime, according to payroll records.
State officials say they have no choice but to pay overtime to cover shifts to make up chronic staff shortages.
In a statement, new Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda said, “This is a complicated issue for any organization that oversees 24/7 operations and finding ways to curb overtime is something we are taking very seriously.
“One of our top priorities is improving processes to efficiently fill staffing vacancies. We continue to focus on improving recruitment and training standards as well as implementing new wellness intiatives that will help change the mindset of individuals so they come to work,” he continued.
Statewide, the staffing problem is worsened by the outdated design of old facilities, prisons officials said.
The state plans to build a new facility on land next to an existing prison in Halawa, but it could take at least three to five years to complete.