OPA: Covid emergency directive led to questionable personnel expenses

GPA, GWA utilize double pay provision, 45 other agencies use differential pay policy

The administration applied conflicting rules on government compensation during the state of emergency in March 2020, resulting in questionable personnel expenses, according to the Office of Public Accountability.

“GovGuam employees were paid $10.4 million for differential, double, or other pay in response to the state of emergency due to Covid-19,” OPA stated in the newly released performance audit report on Government of Guam Covid-19 Payroll Expenses.

“This was in addition to the GovGuam employees’ regular pay received during the closure and suspension of GovGuam services,” OPA said.

OPA noted that the governor's emergency directive cleared the way for the override of existing laws that otherwise prohibit certain compensation practices in government.

Public Auditor Benjamin Cruz said OPA has asked the Office of the Attorney General to look into the circumstances surrounding the application of the double pay provision for the Guam Power Authority and Guam Waterworks Authority, and the compensation for elected and appointed officials who received Covid-related compensation.

“There was an inconsistent use of legal authority for GovGuam employees’ compensation during the state of emergency in March 2020,” Cruz said. “We also asked them to determine if reimbursement is necessary for employees that received this additional pay should they concur with our findings.”