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12 23Sun11292015


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Back Local News Hay pay compliance with law questioned, Adelup responds

Hay pay compliance with law questioned, Adelup responds

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THE Office of the Governor maintains the move to implement the Hay plan wage raises last Friday was done in full compliance with the law.

According to Troy Torres, director of communication for the governor’s office, the Guam Legislature did not disapprove or amend the pay plan submitted by the administration. “The law requires the plan to go in effect unless the Legislature disapproves or amends it. The Legislature did neither before the implementation date, so the plan went into effect as mandated by law,” Torres said.

The administration’s Hay pay plan gave all government workers wage increases, including elected officials and the governor’s cabinet members. Sen. Michael San Nicolas disagreed with the salary increases for elected officials and the governor’s cabinet members and authored Bill 268 on Jan. 24, titled the Responsible Competitive Wage Implementation Act. The bill would have amended the plan submitted by the Department of Administration, by eliminating the raises for elected officials and cabinet members. Bill 268 also lowered the pay raises of mayors and vice mayors from what was proposed by DOA.

After senators passed Bill 268 on a party line vote earlier in the month, Gov. Eddie Calvo vetoed the bill last Thursday and announced the implementation of the administration’s pay plan to begin the next day, Feb. 14.

Both Torres and Vice Speaker Benjamin Cruz highlighted the same section of Public Law 32-68 which dictates the responsibilities of each elected office in terms of the pay plan. However, both parties interpreted the language differently.

No authority

During the special legislative session held Friday to attempt to override Calvo’s veto, Cruz said the Legislature did amend DOA’s pay plan and the governor had no authority to disregard their amendment and move forward with the plan he and DOA had submitted.

“The governor’s authority is clear and the law is clear about the process,” Torres said. “Any lawmaker who reviewed the bill will know this.” Torres said the Legislature did not disapprove or amend the administration’s plan and the governor acted with just reasoning.

According to the law, “The implementation of the 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. The Legislature may approve, disapprove or amend the plan prior to the effective date to ensure it is implemented fairly and consistent with appropriated amounts.”

Cruz called on fellow lawmakers to stand for the integrity of the law as he cited the above passage during the special session. The Legislature failed to override Calvo’s veto of the bill, as they were unable to secure the needed 10 votes.

Supplemental checks total $450,000

Meanwhile, government of Guam employees were given supplemental paychecks last Friday. Torres said nearly $450,000 was paid out to GovGuam workers.

“This money comes from the regular cash collections from the government, as outlined in the $7 million appropriation made by the Legislature to implement the plan,” Torres said.

The amount each employee received is a reflection of the increase in their regular paychecks, he added. “Individual employee raises depended on how they were slotted. Any employee with a reasonable belief that they were not slotted correctly can appeal their raise. Details of this process were given to each government employee alongside their supplemental pay check,” Torres said.

Sen. San Nicolas questioned how DOA was able to process checks so quickly. During Friday’s special session, San Nicolas said the administration could not have accrued the money for the plan without having implemented DOA’s pay plan before Feb. 14 and thus was not in compliance with the law.

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