State briefs for April 25

Firefighters to receive pay increases over 2 years

HONOLULU — Firefighters will receive pay increases as part of a new two-year contract agreement, according to officials.

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The Hawaii Fire Fighters Association and the state agreed to 2% pay increases in each of the next two years. In addition to the 2% raises, the contract that runs from July 1 to June 30, 2021, includes bonuses of between $1,800 and $2,000 each year per employee, as well as an increase in “step movement” raises given for reaching a certain number of years of service.

All four of the state’s county governments and the state must approve additional funding for the contract changes.

Union members will not vote on the contract because it was finalized by an arbitrator.

The sides began negotiating in February 2018 but reached an impasse during negotiations in June before agreeing to a neutral arbitrator, who delivered a final decision April 8.

The union represents about 2,000 firefighters from each of the state’s four counties, as well as the state Airport Division’s Crash and Rescue unit. The largest employer is the city and county of Honolulu with 1,002 union firefighters.

Church chapel vandalized on Easter night

WAILUKU, Maui — The chapel of a Maui Catholic church was vandalized during the night following Easter celebrations, according to a parish priest.

St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Wailuku suffered various types of damage during the night.

The chapel in western Maui was accidentally left unlocked after Easter Sunday services and the damage was discovered Monday morning, said Father Roland Bunda.

The vandals broke a lamp and a statue of an infant Jesus and dumped out a basin of holy water and replaced it with crystals. They drew a heart with names in lipstick on a wall and on the altar lit a single candle and left a small booklet of prayers open to a section on prayers for the addicted.

“It was like vandalism, but with like a purpose, to send a message,” Bunda said.

The crime is being investigated as a burglary, Maui police said.

The church was also vandalized more than three weeks ago when there was a break-in at the rectory where priests and brothers live.

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It is not clear whether the incidents are related, Bunda said.

Bunda might outfit the chapel with security cameras. The church’s school, rectory and cafeteria already have an alarm system.

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