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Honolulu City Council passes bill to address the City’s 2,000+ position vacancies : Maui Now


The Honolulu City Council passed a bill Wednesday addressing hiring deficiencies in the City and County of Honolulu, which has more than 2,000 position vacancies.

The bill, proposed by Council Chair Tommy Waters, requires the Department of Human Resources to submit annual reports regarding long-term vacancies to streamline processes and increase transparency. 

The measure comes following an audit report released in June 2023, which described the city hiring process as “inefficient” and “cumbersome.” The report, published by the Honolulu City Auditor’s office, found that city departments take an average of 139 days to fill position vacancies. 

“These inefficiencies have exacerbated employee shortages,” according to a city council news release. The release notes that the Honolulu Police Department, for example, currently has 360 vacancies, a 46% increase from 2018.

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Accordingly, the city auditor made 10 recommendations to streamline the City’s selection and hiring process. Among them: that the City Council request DHR to submit an annual report detailing long-term vacancies.

Bill 45 (2023), “Relating to the Department Human Resources,” addresses this recommendation, supplementing existing reporting requirements and providing authority to the DHR Director to collect additional vacancy data.

“In our positions at the City Council, we have kuleana to be responsible stewards of the City’s limited resources. Empowering and entrusting the Human Resources Director to better understand the City’s complete list of vacant positions, with a particular focus on any obsolete vacation positions, will aid the Council in making the right policy decisions that help to support the efficiency of department operations, and allow our employees to deliver services more effectively to all of our residents,” said Council Chair Tommy Waters in the release.

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“There are very few things more important – right now – than filling our City vacancies. How are we supposed to reduce crime if we don’t have enough police officers? How are we supposed to reduce permitting delays if we don’t have enough City planners?” said Councilmember Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Chair of the Committee on Executive Matters and Legal Affairs. “We took action. And while it’s not the end-all, be-all solution, it’s a step in the right direction. I’m looking forward to watching our workforce improve year after year.”

Bill 45 (2023) has passed final reading by the Honolulu City Council and will now be sent to the Mayor for signature. The Honolulu mayor has until Dec. 20, 2023 to sign the bill into law.

Source: Maui News

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