Guam Governor Vetoes Bill That Rescinded Controversial Pay Raises

Calvo stands to lose $40,000 per year if salary hike is eliminated

By Shawn Raymundo 

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, March 14, 2017) – Gov. Eddie Calvo on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would eliminate the controversial pay raises Calvo, Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio and lawmakers gave themselves in November 2014.

Earlier this month, lawmakers voted 10-5 in favor of Sen. Frank Aguon Jr.’s Bill 4-34, which would remove the positions of the governor, lieutenant governor and senators from the Competitive Wage Act — GovGuam’s compensation adjustment plan — effectively eliminating the raises those elected officials received.

If the bill becomes law, Calvo’s annual salary would drop from $130,000 to back to $90,000 while Tenorio would begin making $85,000, down from his $110,000-a-year salary.

Senators’ annual income would drop to roughly $55,000 from their current pay of $85,000, except for Speaker Benjamin Cruz, D-Tumon, who would earn nearly $61,000 year.

During a special session Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio called just weeks after the 2014 General Election, senators of the 32nd Legislature passed a bill from the governor's office that increased the salaries of appointed and elected officials to the income levels set in the Wage Act. Tenorio signed the bill into law.

Democratic Sens. Mike San Nicolas and Aguon have lead multiple efforts to repeal, or partially repeal, the law, Calvo successfully vetoed those measures.

Calvo on Tuesday, during a press conference announcing his veto, talked about the many times he’s vetoed bills to rescind the raises over the past two years.

“For the last two years there have been several pieces of legislation, the same flavor, just different derivatives, but they’ve all failed,” said Calvo, who has repeatedly referred to the issue as political pandering by the Legislature’s Democratic majority. “I’m hopeful that with this veto that we can end this thing, whether they override me or not, let’s end it.”

With 10 votes, the bill likely will become law unless at least one lawmaker changes their mind when the Legislature votes on the governor's veto. At least 10 votes are required to override the governor's veto.

The pay cuts would take effect 10 days after the bill becomes law.

“A veto of Bill 4-34 was expected,” Aguon said in a written statement. “However, I still stand firmly by this legislation as do many members of the community. Bill 4-34 is about restoring the public's trust in their elected leaders and I believe my fellow colleagues see the importance of this measure. I'm confident in an override.”

Pacific Daily News
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