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12 23Fri04252014

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Hay bill vetoed

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DOA pay raises start today

ABOUT 15 minutes before the end of the workday yesterday, Gov. Eddie Calvo announced his veto of Bill 268, the Guam Legislature’s version of the Hay pay plan.

“The bill is reckless,” Calvo said in a letter detailing his objections. “The irony is that today we do have the means to pay our employees.”

With the veto, the governor said he will implement the Department of Administration's version of the plan which includes raises for elected officials and department directors.

Bill 268 provided for the same raises as in the DOA plan for classified and unclassified workers, but eliminated the raises for department directors and elected officials. Raises for mayors and vice mayors were included in Bill 268, though at a reduced amount.    

Hay plan pay raise checks ready today

The DOA pay raises in the form of supplemental checks will be available today. Adelup said line agency employees will be able to pick up supplemental payroll checks from their respective department heads as early as 8 a.m. today.

Employee checks will reflect their pay increase based on the individual pay plan they fall under. Most employees are listed under the General Pay Plan and, thus, should expect to receive half of their slated increase under the administration’s Hay plan. Nurses, teachers and attorneys will receive a check that should reflect their full salary increase.

The governor’s office advised employees with the Guam Department of Education to contact the central office should confusion arise regarding check distribution.

Guam Memorial Hospital will also receive checks tomorrow, although the timeliness of the check distribution is dependent on the hospital’s payroll officials, Adelup said. Joseph Verga, the hospital’s CEO, said GMH will implement the Hay raises and that employees will receive their raises tomorrow.

Objections to 268

Calvo’s plan will ultimately cost $20 million in payroll; however, in the veto letter, the governor said that should the Legislature’s $15 million pay plan become law, it would “roll back Hay raises” until July and “a deficit will be created.”

The bill’s stipulation regarding senatorial pay lacked transparency, the governor said. This was another reason for his decision, as he wrote that “senatorial pay raises remain hidden.”

The governor said the bill also would increase inequities in the salaries of government employees, in addition to dismantling “the expensive investment by human resource professionals.”

With the deadline to veto lawmakers’ amendment to Calvo’s original plan just one day before it would have lapsed into law, the administration ran the clock down, and yesterday announced its rejection of the senators’ Hay plan and the implementation of the DOA pay plan in one breath.

Troy Torres, director of communications for the governor, said the governor is not “doing this without legislative input or authorization.”

“The Legislature already gave input and authorized the raises to take effect 30 days after submission of the plan,” Torres said.

According to P.L. 32-68, “The implementation of salary increases due from said plan shall be effective 30 calendar days after receipt of the plan by the speaker of the Legislature unless disapproved or amended.”

In an earlier interview, Vice Speaker Benjamin Cruz said he would comment further about the actions he might take following review of the reasoning behind Calvo’s veto.

“We already said we wouldn’t take our salary increase,” Cruz said.

Sen. Frank Aguon also publicly renounced taking a pay increase in a statement sent out yesterday evening. “Given the financial challenges within our government, I will not accept the increase to my pay,” Aguon said.

Both the governor and the lieutenant governor will reject their pay increases, a release from the governor’s office said. The top executive increases will take effect with the next gubernatorial term beginning in January 2015.

Instead, the pair chose to have the money meant for their salary increase designated for the improvement of education and health matters at the Guam Department of Education and Guam Memorial Hospital.

The Office of the Governor said village mayors and vice mayors, the attorney general, the public auditor as well as Cabinet members will be among the GovGuam officials receiving pay raises today.

The Department of Administration was transmitting funds and printing supplemental paychecks yesterday, preparing them for today, the release from the governor stated.

Meanwhile, the department has yet to deliver the documents requested by the Legislature, making it three weeks since the senators’ initial request for a breakdown of the plan. DOA employees attempted to deliver the 30,000 pages of documents on Monday to Speaker Judith Won Pat’s office; however, Won Pat’s legal counsel advised against signing a receipt for the documents without an inventory of what the boxes contained.

Therese Hart, Speaker Won Pat’s chief of staff, said as of yesterday afternoon, the documents had not been delivered.

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