Governor Calvo keeps legislature in session, cuts critical services because he can
Guam senators returned to session Saturday night at the call of the governor with the understanding that they were being pressured to pass his various pieces of tax legislation to deal with GovGuam's proclaimed $67 million deficit for the current fiscal year or endure various cuts in government services.
Hagatna Police Precinct
As one response by the executive, the administration announced Friday and Saturday that fire stations in Piti and Astumbo, Dededo would be closed for a savings in overtime costs pegged at $2.6 million by fire officials and further added closure of the Hagatna police precinct to the mix.
There was no question Sunday morning that the fire stations had closed as announced, but the police precinct in Hagatna, which handles a variety of centralized functions for the department was open for business. Officials said personnel at Hagatna had been sent to supplement staff at the Department of Corrections for a savings in overtime, and various police trained officers from other departments had been brought in the provide patrol functions in the island's capital city.
While the Calvo administration suggested that passage of measures supported by the governor to either temporarily increase the business privilege tax or impose a sales tax would head off the closures, lawmakers Saturday night were skeptical about that idea.
Vice Speaker Therese M. Terlaje pointedly asked Guam Department of Administration Acting Director Edward Birn if he thought that passing one of the bills Saturday night would raise any money by 8 a.m. Sunday and thus make the closures unnecessary. He thought not.
Meanwhile, government lawyers were busy. The Saturday night session was the result of Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson's opinion that the governor could call it. On the other hand, Vice Speaker Terlaje said legislative legal counsel had advised her that the governor could not call another special session, given that one was already ongoing and had merely been recessed.
The Sunday session started after 10 a.m. and the senators were once again offering various amendments and quizzing administration officials about GovGuam's precarious fiscal situation.