Rector to move out of GFT building - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Rector to move out of GFT building

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - Senator Matt Rector has begun the process of terminating his lease with the Guam Federation of Teachers.   The Legislative Ethics Committee met this morning to deal with one particular issue: what action should be taken since the ethics attorney determined Rector violated the ethics code.

The GFT has received more than $22,500 for its president's lease of office space for his senatorial office since the lease was signed back in January of 2009.  "The respondent in my opinion violated the Ethics Code by locating his legislative office space at the union headquarters," announced Anthony Camacho.

Camacho, the ethics attorney, has determined that Senator Rector violated the Ethics Code by having the lease, that if continued until its expiration would result in the GFT making $60,000.  Rector said, "I get no financial gain from the union, I don't own the union, I'm not a stockholder in the union, it's a non-profit cooperation. They're prohibited by law form ever giving any gains to the officers or employees."

He added, "Do I think I did anything unethical?  No, and I never have from the beginning.  Do I think it's inappropriate?  No, I still don't think it's inappropriate."

Senator Rory Respicio said, "In my opinion, if I was in Senator Rector's position, I certainly would have not rented space from an organization that I was receiving a salary from."

In fact, last January, Senator Respicio and Speaker Judi Won Pat warned the freshman policymaker and fellow Democrat in a letter of the situation he was creating for himself, asking him to reconsider renting at the GFT office, saying, "The payment of government money to an entity that was a major supporter of your campaign as senator and continuing employment with that entity while at the same time serving as a senator, may cause the public to wonder if the entity has bought a public office."

Respicio and Won Pat also added, "This is not good for our Democratic Party and is not good for the 30th Guam Legislature."

But Rector defended the lease and said if the committee determined it to be unethical it wasn't a "big deal" to terminate the lease, as he maintains he did not receive any additional compensation from the GFT since becoming a senator.  "I never wanted to be treated as a second-class senator or citizen. I wanted to be judged and held to the exact same standards as everybody else in our legislature," said Rector.

Rector told the committee he hopes a system and protocol would be established to detail how a sitting senator can lease office space and what is ethical and unethical. The committee eventually passed a resolution recommending that Rector's senatorial lease be terminated. 

KUAM News asked Rector's legal counsel, Attorney Robert Kutz, is he had any idea of where his client would be moving to," to which Kutz laughingly replied, "I have no idea and that's all I can say about that."

While the committee has yet to decide on what admonishment would be appropriate for Rector, the matter will be brought before the entire legislative body during session next week.  The committee will also meet on January 27 to discuss the remainder of the issues in Monte Mesa's complaint.

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