Guam governor urged to tap into Covid relief grant for nurses pay hike

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.

Sen. Mary C. Torres

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.