GUAM LEGISLATURE NOT SERIOUS ABOUT FISCAL CRISIS

Editorial

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, June 25) - With barely more than three months left before the end of the fiscal year, and six and a half months after our current batch of elected officials took office, there still has been no meaningful, significant progress toward reorganizing and rightsizing the government of Guam.

In mid-April, Gov. Felix Camacho transmitted legislation to lawmakers to repeal some sections of law to make reorganization a faster, simpler process. It's now Bill 86, and lawmakers will be discussing the measure during this session, which began yesterday -- more than two months after it was initially proposed.

It didn't help that many senators chose to go off island recently. Apparently, the problems we all are facing right now aren't important enough for some lawmakers to remain on island to focus on resolving them.

Many in the Legislature also said they have problems with the part of the legislation that would have done away with the public hearing process. But Camacho has said he is amenable to a compromise on that portion of the proposal.

Even with that objection, it makes no sense that the reorganization and rightsizing process -- which is such an integral part of a sorely needed overall plan to cut government expenses -- should have been held up for so long.

The obvious explanation is that our elected officials aren't really serious about resolving the government of Guam's financial crisis. If they were, we'd be much farther down that road and much closer to its goal, instead of being stalled in the starting blocks, kicking up dust and hot air.

The bulk of these people are not making decisions based on what's best for this community, but on what they believe will secure their individual re-election next year. And, their lack of action on these desperately required measures only brings the government, and thus the entire community closer to collapse. The lack of deliberate forward movement is holding GovGuam employees hostage -- they don't know if they will be paid on payday, they aren't sure if their positions will be eliminated, they don't even know if their jobs will be outsourced and, if so, to whom.

This can't continue. It's a disservice to government workers, and the community as a whole.

Our elected officials have to get moving on rightsizing this bloated government and institute cost-cutting measures that must obviously include layoffs, privatization and outsourcing -- before this patient, called GovGuam, dies.

June 25, 2003

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com 

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