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Controversy surrounds GPD promotions

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - Police Week 2010 was officially declared today, and seven newly-promoted lieutenants were presented to the governor, but there's some controversy surrounding the remainder of those promotions.  The Department of Administration has a specific process for promotions within the Government of Guam.  

That process is meant to prevent politics from playing a part in the selection of those who should move up the ranks. But there are allegations that promotions at GPD are more political than fair.  DOA has received complaints about the promotions recently conducted at the Guam Police Department.  Ten vacancies were to be filled for police lieutenant and dozens of officers applied for the position.

Only seven have been selected from the list provided by DOA, with three vacancies remaining.  DOA says the process began the usual way: applications were received, evaluations were conducted, written tests were graded and a list of eligible and qualified individuals was established.

Thirteen names were provided to Police Chief Paul Suba.  After conducting interviews Suba selected seven individuals, six sergeants and a single Police Officer III to be promoted to the rank of lieutenant.  "I'm still hopeful that I can include three or four more lieutenant promotions because although the economy is still on a downswing, these are absolutely necessary so these individuals can be put in their proper position and be accountable," Suba told KUAM News.

Three vacancies remain and DOA Human Resources Administrator Cecilia Martinez says Suba recently asked for a supplemental list of qualified applicants to select from, even though there are still six eligible individuals on the list.  "We did not provide the second list to him because we needed justification why the other six were not selected; for whatever reason, were they passed over," she confirmed.

Part of the government's merit system requires that a department head provide specific justification as to why each individual employee is not selected. Martinez says the police chief only provided a general justification, adding that DOA sent a sufficient number of qualified applicants for Suba to choose from.  "We don't want anybody to think that just because they were passed over it's because they don't seem to be good enough of the chief it's because they have to meet all the requirements for that position before the chief can make a selection. He needs to justify why he passed over those names, those individuals," said Martinez.

Chief Suba, however, has a different take on what's happening with the remainder of the lieutenant promotions, saying, "DOA is working a list of names that have been screened after completing the testing and the other process. They'll be provided to us so we can interview those individuals and then from that I'll be provided a list and I can select from those candidates."  Yet Martinez says the GG1s are ready and all Suba needs to do is making the selections with the current list or provide specific justification for why he chose to pass over the others.  

While Suba has yet to fill the remaining lieutenant vacancies, the police chief says he intends to do civilian, Sergeant II, Sergeant I and Police Officer III promotions next.

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