Guam's pay raise bill derailed
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
A bill proposing a 22 percent increase in the general pay plan for government of Guam employees failed to make the cut on the session agenda after being thumbed down by the Republicans.
“The Republicans wanted to discern on who and what positions should garner a wage increase by adding a list of personnel, their job titles, and salaries as an exhibit to the measure,” said Sen. Joe S. San Agustin, author of Bill 24-37.
San Agustin’s motion to send the bill to the session floor failed during the Committee on Rules meeting Thursday morning.
The general pay plan or GPP covers all positions not included in the pay plans for nurses, educators, attorneys and executive employees.
San Agustin said the GPP does not include agency directors, deputy directors, executive directors, mayors or vice mayors.
“The GPP covers our rank-and-file servants who serve as custodial, labor and maintenance staff; administrative, managerial personnel; nursing, medical and dentistry technical positions; clerical and related staff and others that do not serve as teachers, law enforcement or nurses,” he added.
Republican Sen. Telo Taitague blocked the motion to place Bill 24-37 on the session agenda.
Defending her objection, Taitague cited a discrepancy in the proposed amount.
“The committee report for Bill 24-37 indicates the initial request for the pay adjustment was $16 million. The bill presented to us today asks for $23 million,” Taitague said.
“It’s my duty to question any increase in cost and I have a responsibility to ensure that any pay increases are truly going to the GovGuam employees who need it most,” she added.
Taitague underscored the need for better management of resources.
“We don’t want to increase pay now and find ourselves forced to furlough struggling workers should federal funds decrease and economic recovery stall,” she said. “I have already said that I would support pay adjustments for our public sector workforce so long as we do so responsibly.”
She noted that a $7 million difference is significant and deserves a further review and proper fiscal documentation.
“I, along with my Republican colleagues, simply asked for more information and time to review who this $23 million plan will affect and how the government will sustain these increases,” Taitague said.”Give me the details, show me the money.”
San Agustin said the Republicans’ support of the measure rested on a listing of all the individuals affected by the GPP, detailing their job titles and salary.
San Agustin said the requested information may be provided during Committee of the Whole deliberations.
“All I asked was to get the bill on the agenda so we may further discuss it in the session Committee of the Whole where we would be able to thoroughly break it down and ensure we answer all the questions with all the information provided and available to us, and if there was an issue, we figure out how to best help our hard-working and dedicated employees,” Sen. San Agustin said.