Rampant Nepotism At Port Authority Of Guam Alleged

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Many family members supposedly employed at agency

By Joe White

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, April, 2013) – Nepotism abounds in the Port Authority of Guam, where close to 60 employees have families working in the same agency, bringing into question the hiring practices at PAG and its compliance with its own rules and regulations.

According to the agency’s staffing pattern, there are at least 20 families with members working at the PAG.

These ties include the head of human resources and her husband both working for the port, and the operations manager with a brother and sons.

According to PAG’s handbook of policies and regulations:

"Whenever there are already two or more members of the immediate family in the public service under the port, no other members of such family shall be eligible to appointment."

"Immediate family" in this case refers to members residing within the same household, the handbook states.

According to Public Auditor Doris Flores Brooks, there is no specific law that prohibits relatives from working in the same agency.

"There is no prohibition that relatives cannot work in the same agency," said Brooks, who heads the Office of Public Accountability. "It’s only where it becomes an issue of supervision," Brooks said, adding it is not uncommon for relatives to work in the same company.

She said the one way to address the issue of nepotism is to acknowledge the conflict and put into place mitigation efforts.

"It’s not illegal, not improper. But is it good to have, in terms of good governance?" Brooks said, adding it comes down to management to approve policies and evaluate the appearances of nepotism or favoritism.

Other leaders say they are more concerned with other activities at the port.

"What was probably a bigger problem was hiring people that were not qualified," said Sen. Tom Ada, referring to a situation early last year in which employees were hired without proper certifications for a TWIC card.

He said the last investigation into nepotism at the port did not find any cases of nepotism in which there were direct relations between supervisor and subordinate.

"It’s just not a healthy thing to have from a management standpoint," Ada said.

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