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OpenHawaii.org to Make Government Data Open to the Public

HONOLULU, HAWAII—Mar. 12, 2015 — In response to difficulties encountered by citizens and media seeking public records, the Grassroot Institute is launching OpenHawaii.org, a site dedicated to providing access to hard to obtain government data for the purpose of holding government accountable.

At the roll-out of OpenHawaii.org, Grassroot President Keli’i Akina issued the following statement:

“While Hawaii has fine sunshine laws, government agencies often make it hard for the public to get the information they need.  OpenHawaii.org will now make it possible for citizens to hold government accountable by seeing exactly how tax dollars are being spent.  Grassroot Institute is pleased to offer this as an independent public service to fulfill our role as a watchdog and educational resource.”

While OpenHawaii.org will eventually make available records from any government department, the website premiere will feature county and state salary and overtime records, as well as retirement, health insurance, budgetary, and other data.

Records show that police and fire departments spend the most on overtime across the state as well as on pensions and benefits.

On Kauai, for example, some police officers making a base salary between $53,000 – $76,000 receive more than double their salary in overtime.  The data shows that the same employees receive retirement contributions from the public of up to $54,000 per year.

On Maui, a police sergeant making a base salary of $83,590 per year made an extra $86,918 in 2014.

This data is critical to understanding the crisis in pension costs and unfunded liabilities currently faced by the State of Hawaii.

In the future, OpenHawaii.org will be populated with additional government data including budgetary information, sunshine meeting information, department audits, and more salary, overtime, and pension information.