No hazardous pay for GPD's top brass - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

No hazardous pay for GPD's top brass

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - The Attorney General's Office has issued a legal memorandum on the issue of hazardous pay for the chief of police.  The top brass is seeking the additional pay as he maintains his job as chief is just as hazardous as his men and women in uniform on the streets.

"The chief of police is not entitled to hazardous pay" was the legal finding from Assistant Attorney General David Highsmith, who issued a memorandum to the Department of Administration this week.  Police Chief Paul Suba had requested that he receive the compensation because he carries a badge and gun and wears a police uniform.  In December, Suba sought the additional pay that is given to sworn uniform officers.

The Department of Administration, however, determined the police chief position isn't eligible for the pay all the time, but only during specific instances when he is exposed to a particular hazard.

Suba was so certain he should receive hazardous pay that he even submitted timesheets, but the extra compensation was denied.

While Guam's top cop has also asked for retroactive hazardous pay dating back to the time he was officially confirmed, Assistant AG Highsmith found that the law regarding hazardous pay does not apply to the chief of police.  While there is a law that authorizes the chief to enact a table of organization and equipment to establish an organizational structure for the Guam Police Department and also allows him to designate positions within the agency to receive hazardous duty pay, Highsmith found that hazardous pay is not appropriate for the chief of police, who is an agency head appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Guam Legislature. 

Additionally he noted that the phrase police officer refers only to rank-and-file officers who perform dangerous work and whose duties are not primarily administrative or managerial.   Highsmith added that other law enforcement personnel receive hazardous pay but their directors do not.  

While Suba may have lost this battle, the chief wants to take on another - as he is now suggesting that all civilian personnel at GPD receive hazardous pay, as well.  "There are some sections within GPD where they deal with hazardous materials or chemicals," Suba told KUAM News, "and so that was the position that I was taking that as long as they are in those environments and they can't avoid it, because of the job then they should be afforded that, as well."

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