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Ethics counsel makes recommendations

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - The Legislature's Ethics Committee Counsel Attorney Anthony Camacho presented his final review of the complaint filed by Port Authority Board Chairperson Monte Mesa against Senator Matt Rector this morning. One of the issues dealt with whether funds from Senator Rector's legislative budget have been spent on Guam Federation of Teachers activities, as well as paid to the union for legislative office space. Senator is President of the Guam Federation of Teachers union.

While attorney Camacho said it's a possible violation, he estimates it would take at least another two weeks before compiling all the evidence to move forward with the issue.

Attorney Camacho says the ethics code does not prohibit Senator Rector from participating in public hearings concerning proposed laws that appear to benefit the union. Another issue was whether Rector is prohibited from negotiating matters related to pay scales for the employees of the Port Authority of Guam. As Guam law prohibits public officers from assisting any person or business in negotiating compensation, especially since Rector is receiving a salary from the union as the President. Senators such as Ray Tenorio, who is the replacement for Senator Frank Blas, Jr. questioned if it would be a conflict if Senator Rector used his employees at the GFT to assist with the negotiations, which attorney Camacho said it would be a definite conflict.

Attorney Camacho's findings also shows that there is no potential conflict for Senator Rector to serve in the Legislature while simultaneously serve as  the Union's President, as well as if Rector could serve as the Chair of the Labor Committee. Concerns have been raised if Rector should be removed from the position. Senator Adolpho Palacios asked Camacho if he recommends that the body move forward with Rector's removal; however attorney Camacho made it clear that it was the legislature who put him there in the first place, and it again remains up to the legislature on whether they want him removed.

Attorney Camacho's recommendations include whether a full hearing is necessary in order to take disciplinary action, or if the matter should be dismissed and no further action be taken.   The complaint warrants full hearing mainly as to whether funds from Rector's legislative budget have been used to pay for office space at the GFT, whether Rector is prohibited from negotiating matters related to pay scales for Port employees, whether Rector is prohibited from engaging in activities with government agencies that involve union related activities.

The ethics panel agreed on the recommendation, and will hold a full hearing on the issue of Senator Rector using his legislative budget to pay rent to the union while serving as the union President. The hearing will be held on January 13, while the remainder of the issues will be investigated and discussed by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, Senator Rector has selected Attorney Robert Kutz to represent him with the complaints file before the Ethics Committee. Attorney Camacho says he has been in communication with attorney Kutz, who continues to review Rector's case.

Attorney Camacho adds that he continues to search for the burglary conviction records for senator Rector. The ethics panel has granted him authority to subpoena all local entities that may have the documents.

A hearing to discuss the complaint filed by Eloy Hara is scheduled for January 15.

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