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City Council seeks oversight of Blangiardi administration's allocation of pandemic funds

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Honolulu City Councilmembers have urged the Blangiardi administration to be more transparent about how it is spending federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The city is receiving $386 million in ARPA funds to respond to the pandemic. At a briefing Monday, councilmembers received an update from the administration as to how it is allocating the money.

Several councilmembers expressed concern that they were being left out of the process.

As an example, Council Chair Tommy Waters pointed to a $243,000 expenditure for an ARPA funds administrator position.

"That seems like that would be the highest-paid employee of the entire city, and with zero oversight by us. And that’s why I think we need to have oversight, so we can ask those questions. Because if this were in the budget, all of us would have been asking a lot of questions about that," Waters said.

City Deputy Managing Director Krishna Jayaram said the $243,000 figure did not represent a base salary for the position, but acknowledged their concerns about the issue of oversight.

Council Budget Chair Calvin Say suggested a monthly meeting with the administration to evaluate the use of funds and ensure transparency.

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