Guam Port Authority Moved To Retain Unqualified Employees

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Former GM’s memo recognized possible liabilities in October 2012

By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Jan. 17, 2013) – As early as October last year, Port Authority of Guam (PAG) former General Manager Mary Torres sought to address the eligibility issues facing the four port employees, who were found unqualified for the positions for which they were hired, documents showed.

In an Oct. 8, 2012 memo to the Civil Service Commission (CSC), Torres asked that the four employees be allowed to keep their jobs lest PAG "may be exposed to possible legal liabilities due to our error in qualifying the incumbents to the positions which they were initially hired for."

On Tuesday, CSC ruled that the hiring of cargo checkers Vincent A. Toves and Jeffrey Q. Cruz as well as accountants Kevin Susuico and Salvador Guevara was null and void as they did not meet the qualifications at the time they were employed.

According to CSC’s Aug. 23, 2012 report, the employees in question failed to meet the requirements for years of experience and failed to submit certain required documents.


"We are considerate of the ramifications of our actions and believe the incumbents should not be punished for errors made by the port in qualifying them to positions which they should have been eligible for," Torres said in the memo.

She said the four employees have since been granted permanent status and gone through appropriate training that eventually qualified them for their positions after the CSC issued an Aug. 23 report.

CSC conducted the audit on PAG personnel based on Torres’ request on May 11, 2012.

CSC Executive Director Tony Lamorena yesterday said it’s up to PAG to decide what to do with the employees after the commission’s ruling voiding their hiring.

"I don’t think the port is completely aware of the extent of what that means," a PAG insider told Variety. "This includes the possibility of their pay having to be remitted to the port along with monies to the Retirement Fund. Who will be responsible for this?"

Training plan

Prior to its ruling, the source said, CSC directed the port to come up with a plan, recognizing that the employees had already acquired permanent status and that they weren't at fault for the erroneous qualification they received when they were hired.

The source said PAG eventually prepared the plan that would have taken into account the CSC requests. The plan included training and assistance from the Human Resources Division of the Department of Administration, the source said.

"Unfortunately, board chairman Dan Tydingco refused to transfer the plan and just held on to it, as all he wanted to do was fire these people and blame the Port Human Resources Department," the source told Variety.

Variety tried to seek comments from PAG but no official was available. A phone call to legal counsel Mike Phillips was not returned as of press time.

Adelup order?

"The real truth is that these employees were hired at the direction of Adelup," the port insider said. "At first they were deemed not qualified but then Anisia Terlaje, who was then the deputy general manager and controlled all hiring, ordered the Human Resources administrator to change the documents and have them noted as qualified for the positions."

"This is not unusual at the port as this administration routinely interferes with hiring and completely disregards the merit system," the source said.

The source also said the PAG board, "at the direction of Adelup," has been creating positions to accommodate political supporters, "including the safety administrator’s son who was previously AHRD director and is one of the campaign’s Merizo leaders."

"Although Adelup and Anisia Terlaje are doing this, they turn around and blame the Human Resources Department; and those employees were just doing what they were ordered to do under duress," the source said.

When reached for comment, the Governor's Office dismissed the allegation of hiring interference as "another baseless attack" by "a faceless accuser."

"The administration has more important things to do than meddle in the HR office at the port," the Governor's Office stated.

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