Guam senators are asking Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero to tap into the anticipated federal relief aid to cover the pay raises for government nurses pending identification of a sustainable funding source for this purpose.
In a letter transmitted to the governor on March 17, Sen. Mary Camacho Torres, Vice Speaker Tina Muña Barnes and Sen. Amanda L. Shelton asked that a fraction of the anticipated $661 million in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds be used to shore up Guam’s nurses. “Just as any building requires a solid foundation, the delivery of health care demands an equally strong and stable workforce,” said Torres in her correspondence. “That is why I write to request that you dedicate a portion of the pandemic aid to increase public nurse salaries while we await the results of the Nurse Pay Study mandated by Guam Public Law 35-125.” The three senators sponsored Bill 61-36, introduced earlier this year to increase the compensation of all public nurses by 15 percent beginning Oct. 1. According to a fiscal note conducted by the Bureau of Budget and Management Research, the increase would cost approximately $3.27 million in personnel costs.