Salary Increases For Guam Elected Officials Becomes Law

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Raises based on recommendation of consultant’s study

By Jerick Sablan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Dec. 2, 2014) – Guam's elected officials and the administration's Cabinet members will receive a salary increase after corresponding legislation was signed into law last month.

Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio signed Bill 1 (8-S) into law on Nov. 21, the same day it was passed by members of the Legislature in a 10-1 vote.

Tenorio called the Legislature for a special session on that Friday to discuss amending a previously passed law that excludes elected officials and appointees to the governor's Cabinet from getting a salary bump.

Lawmakers approved the bill that raises the salaries of the attorney general, governor, lieutenant governor, senators and members of the governor's Cabinet in accordance with the Competitive Wage Act of 2014.

The Wage Act, submitted to the Legislature in January, included recommended pay increases to GovGuam employees. The recommendations were based on a 2010 assessment by the consulting firm Hay Group.

The current annual base salary for senators is nearly $61,000, with the exception of the speaker's salary, which is set at $67,600, according to government staffing reports. The governor and lieutenant governor's base salaries are set at $90,000 and $85,000, respectively.

Under the Wage Act, senators would earn an annual base salary of $85,000.

The governor's pay would increase to $130,000 and the lieutenant governor would receive $110,000 annually.

The new law authorizes appropriations from the Fiscal 2015 budget to pay for the raises.

Previously capped

In March, Public Law 32-136 provided salary increases to most of the GovGuam's classified employees. The bill capped elected officials' and Cabinet members' salaries to their salary rates from Oct. 1, 2013. It also capped senators' pay.

All sections of Public Law 32-136 were either amended or repealed in the bill passed on Nov. 21, which is now Public Law 32-208.

Before the pay raises were revoked, salary hikes for the 45 elected officials, including the island's mayors and vice mayors who were given raises earlier this year, amounted to about $1.1 million annually, according to Pacific Daily News files. The pay increases for 36 Cabinet members and political appointees was about $157,000, files state.

However, Julius Santos, the governor's spokesman, yesterday said the raises for senators would cost around $400,000.

An analysis of the Competitive Wage Act of 2014 for elected officials, excluding mayors and vice mayors, amounted to about $430,000.

Gov. Eddie Calvo said in March that he was disappointed that Cabinet members and other elected officials were denied just compensation.

He wrote that he and Tenorio didn't take their pay raises and instead donated them to the Guam Memorial Hospital and several of the island's public schools.

"As I've said several times, Ray and I are not taking the recommended pay raise, and senators could have simply declined theirs as well, if they wanted to," Calvo wrote in March.

It's unclear if the administration would continue to donate its raises to the government agencies.

Tenorio, in his message to the Legislature after signing the bill into law, wrote that the administration is grateful the Legislature recognizes the good work of all government employees, including Cabinet members.

"Every employee counts," he wrote.

He said it's because of focused and collective efforts from all employees that the government finances are being managed properly.

"By passing Bill 1 (8-S) we tell these employees that their dedication and efforts are deserving of recognition and reward," he wrote.

Tenorio wrote, as the new term for their administration starts soon, they hope a spirit of bipartisan collaboration will continue.

"We must be ever mindful that public office is a public trust and that we have a common obligation to serve Guam and its people," he wrote.

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