HONOLULU — The Hawaii National Guard has experienced delays in paying members deployed for duties related to the flooding on Kauai and the lava flows on the Big Island, causing financial burdens for families, officials said.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed a proclamation Friday extending disaster emergency relief and enacting a provision allowing state agencies “to pay, as expeditiously as possible,” Guardsmen deployed to the Big Island, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .
About 600 Guard personnel have served on the Big Island since the Kilauea volcano eruption in early May. About 100 are still there, said Maj. Jeff Hickman, a spokesman for the Guard. An estimated 150 members were deployed to Kauai during the flooding earlier this year, and about six remain to escort people in and out of flood areas.
In some cases, Guardsmen working more than week on lava duty faced two to three weeks of processing time before receiving their first paycheck. Fewer than 15 members had to wait more than a month before getting their first paycheck, Hickman said.
The Hawaii National Guard joint forces headquarters "is working hard to fix any residual pay issues from the beginning of Kauai flood and Paa Mau (Hawaii island) response operations," Col. Gregory Scrivner, staff director for the Hawaii Air National Guard, said in an internal email last week obtained by the newspaper.
The Guard was negotiating with the governor’s office to bypass a state statute that requires work to be completed before pay processing begins, Scrivner noted. The Guard set up a hotline to address pay issues affecting personnel.
With the governor’s proclamation, pay should now be processed after each week worked, Hickman said. “So if they are on orders for three weeks, on their third week they’ll start to get their first week of pay, and every week after that they’ll get paid,” he said.