Guam Governor Yet To Act On Adjusted Pay Raise Bill

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Legislature says Calvo can’t just veto their version of bill

By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Feb. 4, 2014) – Gov. Eddie Calvo as of yesterday evening had not acted on the government pay raise bill approved Saturday by Guam lawmakers, although his spokesman has said Calvo likely will veto the measure.

Calvo yesterday called the Democratic legislative leadership's action on the pay raise issue an "abomination."

The Legislature, lacking detailed information from the administration, capped the cost of pay raises at $7 million, despite the administration's statement that it will cost $20 million. They also gave mayors and vice mayors a smaller pay raise than proposed by the governor, and eliminated or restricted pay raises for other elected officials and cabinet members.

"A bill such as that will be very dangerous in terms of equity to the workers of GovGuam," Calvo said at a press conference.

The legislative version, the Republican governor said, would be costly because the pay raises are not phased in, unlike his version. Calvo has proposed paying some employees more, beginning Feb. 14, with full implementation by August.

Mayors currently make $46,062 a year, legislative records show.

The governor's proposal would:

'Can't just veto'

The Legislature's bill, which focuses mostly on giving raises to employees and managers under the merit system, would take effect on Feb. 9 unless the governor vetoes it.

Vice Speaker Benjamin Cruz, D-Piti, said the governor can't just veto the legislative version and implement the $20 million proposal.

"We, the Legislature, have spoken. We don't like the plan" as presented by the governor, Cruz said.

And if the governor implements his version of the pay raise plan despite the Legislature's concerns, Cruz said, the governor could get sued.

"I think the options for the Legislature and taxpayers is to bring an action to enjoin him from moving forward," Cruz said.

Department of Administration Director Benita Manglona, who faced Democratic senators' grilling Friday after she failed to provide a department-by-department breakdown of the pay raises, said the administration's phased-in proposal is based on projections of government cash flow.

"The Legislature is meddling in changing the whole picture," Manglona said.

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