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Citizens demand answers why officials get high pay

Date Posted: 2004-12-16

Money is tight, and budgets are being slashed at both Prefectural Offices and in cities across Okinawa.

Angry citizens are asking pointed questions now about why salaries are so high for public employees. They say a lot of money is being wasted by bloated staffs in many agencies. The questions center on agencies having staff with no work to do.

One case involved a man working as a temporary employee at a Prefecture office, who also worked for an Election Campaign Office. The man told outsiders “yes, we did get too high a salary” for the work. Prefecture workers or temporary workers on the election campaigns received pay ranging from $270 to $340 and up, with work hours running 6:30am to 8:00pm.

Officials acknowledge that everyone wants jobs with the election campaign office, where more than 1,000 were employed. With the Prefecture paying ¥27,000~34,000 per employee for a two-week period, that totals a lot for 1,000 employees, charge the irritated citizens. They’re asking if that’s not a waste of taxpayer money, particularly when many are people who already work other government jobs. Opponents of the program charge that some employees are double dipping, where they work more than one job and receive multiple paychecks from the same government agencies.

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