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Bipartisan bill aims to pay merit bonuses owed to GovGuam employees

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Bipartisan senators this week introduced a bill appropriating $1.56 million to "bring finality" to payments of merit bonuses earned by government of Guam employees.

The proposed appropriation under Bill 296-37 would be sourced from the current fiscal year's excess revenues and would cover merit bonus payments earned by Guam Memorial Hospital employees and others in various agencies.

Some of the owed bonuses were earned over a decade ago.

"In the case of GMH, we learned that while current and former employees were owed over $850,000 in merit bonuses, their employer did not have the money to pay them and Adelup said that they could not help them," said Sen. Frank Blas Jr., the main author of Bill 296-37.

He noted that the 2024 budget act mandates that all merit bonuses earned by government employees from 2010 to the present be paid by Dec. 31, 2023,.

"Throughout last year’s budget discussions, I along with other senators inquired with administration officials on the status of the merit bonus payments due to deserving employees, and when the discussions seemed to be ignored, we directed that there would be finality to the issue by year’s end," he added.

"Unfortunately, the administration failed to meet that mark, and fast forward to today, over $1.5 million in bonuses have yet to be paid,” Blas said.

The bill is co-sponsored by Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes and Sens. Christopher Duenas and Joe San Agustin.

 “The employees who earned and deserved these bonuses were made to wait and wonder if they were ever to receive payment while pay raises and questionable hirings were continuing to occur," Blas said.

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