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12 23Wed11262014

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Back Local News CSC holds action on port employee cases pending AG opinion

CSC holds action on port employee cases pending AG opinion

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THE Civil Service Commission last night decided to postpone any action on the appeals filed by six fired Port Authority of Guam employees, pending opinion from the Attorney General’s Office on the validity of terms of some of the port board members who signed off on the employees’ job termination.

“The opinion will give us additional guidance,” said CSC vice chairman Manuel Pinauan.

Sen. Tom Ada earlier questioned the validity of the length of terms of board chairman Dan Tydingco and board member Mike Benito.

In addition, Jose Guevara III, one of the dismissed employees who appealed the adverse action, argued that PAG General Manager Joanne Brown did not have the authority to order the job termination because the PAG board had not appointed her legally.

After Deputy General Manager Anisia Terlaje resigned and with then-PAG General Manger Mary Torres off-island, Brown was appointed the new GM of the port in a state of emergency as the port was left with no leadership.

Brown signed the notices of adverse action against all of the employees.

Jojo Guevara, Bernadette Stern-Meno, Josette Javelosa and Frances Arriola, whose cases were supposed to be heard at last night’s merit hearing at the CSC in Sinajaña, were fired in December, along with Francine Roccio and Vivian Leon for allegedly forging documents authorizing workman’s compensation benefits for Stern-Meno.

Appeals

They filed appeals with the CSC, claiming their employee rights had been violated and that they had not been issued appropriate response time to notices of proposed adverse actions issued by port management. They said the claims against them were based on inaccurate factual findings.

Ada sent a letter to acting Gov. Ray Tenorio two weeks ago urging him to reappoint new members, saying Tydingco and Benito’s terms expired in 2011.

The Governor’s Office replied that the terms were legal and as a result, Ada asked the AGO to intervene and issue an opinion.

Attorney Jeffrey Moots, representing Guevara, and Attorney John Terlaje, representing Javelosa, said the question regarding the board members’ terms was new information that surfaced after the motions had been filed.

Following a status conference next Tuesday, the hearing dates for Guevara, Javelosa and Arriola will be rescheduled.

The hearing for Meno’s case is scheduled for April 16 and 18.

The commissioners will decide whether to call Torres as a witness during her hearing.

PAG Legal Counsel Mike Phillips called Torres the “ringleader of the conspiracy.”

Torres, who is filing an ethics complaint against Phillips and law partner Jonathan Bell, publicly said her termination from PAG was politically motivated because one of the terminated employees was a perceived enemy of the governor. The governor has denied these accusations.

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