Is Hawaii Tourism’s Budget Skewed?

Last Friday, September 12th, Mark Niesse, in an Associated Press article, wrote the following:

“Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle on Friday called for the state’s top tourism executive to resign after it was revealed he sent racist and sexist material from his government computer in addition to pornographic e-mails disclosed earlier.

“Hawaii Tourism Authority CEO Rex Johnson forwarded jokes about Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to friends, besides pornographic e-mails that had already been disclosed.

“It’s crystal clear that Rex Johnson needs to resign,” Lingle told reporters. “This e-mail is disgusting. It goes against the very core of who we are as a people, that we’re a place where all people will feel welcome and comfortable.”

“If Johnson doesn’t “have the class to resign” on his own, Lingle said, the board of the Tourism Authority should remove him.

“Johnson was reprimanded and his pay docked last month for using his state e-mail account to relay pornographic material. But the Tourism Board did not disclose the racist and sexist e-mails, which were among 600 obtained by The Honolulu Advertiser in an open-records request.”

I posted a lot of it here, verbatim, just in case the link goes dead, which it will, eventually.  The best part of all this, I write with a sarcastic sneer, actually had me feeling badly for the guy.

The board considered Johnson’s fate for three weeks before deciding to keep him. As punishment, his annual pay was cut by $40,000…”

Wait, it gets better.

 “…or 16 percent to $200,000. His four-year contract was also reduced to one year.”

You’ve got to be kidding!  Heck, cut it by another  $50,000, or even $100,000 and hire me!  You don’t even need to give me a contract!  I’ll be Miss Aloha and give our visitors everything they want for that kind of salary!  Sheesh, I’m obviously underpaid.  Give me a break!

That extra $100,000 could then be added to the “Hawaiian culture” and/or the “natural resources preservation” buckets!  I’ll even stand with the University of Hawaii and the Department of Land and Natural Resources to clean up our streams and trails!  I wonder if I should send the Hawaii Tourism Authority my resume?  With that kind of salary I could buy that Jeep I would love to have and use it for business — to get up those mountains and check those reservoirs, etc.! We do need to clean up around here! 

I guess that I’m just overwhelmed.  Seriously though, I have a lot of thoughts about alternative ways to get people over here.  We can’t just do the usual printing of flyers and hope for the best.  Lingle also said recently that we can’t just go about business as usual.  She’s right.  We need to do something different and we need to do something more.

We need to do something different; we need to step outside of that proverbial box!  There is so much money available and it seems to me that too much of that money is going for administrative costs and a lot of fluff.  I still think I should send them my resume.  Compared to what they’ve been paying, I’m a cheap hire! 

Our local media has, of course, picked up on the story as well.  I just liked the AP article — it made its point quickly. 

To the Hawaii Tourism Authority I say, “hang tough guys, we’ll get through this but you need to do some major brainstorming.  There is so much depending on all that you do!”  We’ve got to make it work!

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 HawaiiVacationGifts // Sep 18, 2008 at 3:47 am

    I totally agree that Rex Johnson needs to be fired. I can understand with that large salary he is not going to do the right thing and resign on his own.

    As for getting more people to visit Hawaii, I think all of the Hawaii bloggers are helping to do that already;)

  • 2 Evelyn // Sep 18, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Thank you, HVG, for your comment! I have mixed feelings about it because I do believe it was spam email that got forwarded by him and not stuff that was created by him. But, that’s a lot of money to pay anyone! Email has become dangerous for a lot of people. Someone has even hacked into one of the VP hopeful’s Yahoo! email and they’re trying to make an issue out of it. It’s intolerable, really.

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