Pete Roberto steps down as DPHSS director - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Pete Roberto steps down as DPHSS director

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - After receiving several calls about a certain government director having turned in his resignation only to return within the next 24 hours, KUAM News did some digging, and evidently it is true.  The recent resignation of a director at one of Guam's larger government agencies was short-lived. 

So short, in fact, that many in the public may not have even known it happened.  

Director of Public Health and Social Services J. Peter Roberto says he stepped down from his post last Thursday.  He said, "It is true; I had a lot of, am I director, but I'm also an individual and every so often personal issues come up and I did resign last week.  But fortunately things were resolved, so I was able to come back into government services the following day so there was no break in service."

Roberto says he followed proper procedures in tendering his resignation, recalling, "Part of that process was the lump sum of annual leave that was cashed out - that was received, as well."  He said the amount was roughly $9,500.

"I believe it is legal because there an employee can get the lump sum pay they have accrued at the time not to exceed 320 hours," Roberto said.

While Roberto maintains this was not the reason he quit, Department of Administration Human Resources Administrator Cecelia Martinez says it is the reason given by other government workers who resign for a short period of time.  "Not just directors, but we have employees that do the same thing," she noted.  "They resign for one day just to get their annual leave or retirement contribution refunded that's the only way they can get it back."

Roberto he says he submitted his resignation to the Governor's Office - spokesperson Shawn Gumataotao confirms the Camacho Administration did receive the notice last week.  

KUAM News asked Roberto if he needed to be reaffirmed before he went back to work, to which he replied, "No, I don't recall even needing to be reconfirmed for that, because again, I did not [cause a] break in service."

Martinez says the brief resignations are closely scrutinized by the government and can only be permitted with the Administration's approval. She says the reasons for such a move are usually motivated by the need to cash-in on benefits.  "That's the reason why they resign and come back the next day: 'cause they want it. Why would I resign now and come back Monday if it's not for a special reason?" she said.

 

As for Roberto, he says he does not plan to leave the Department of Public Health again - for the long- or short-term - anytime in the near future.

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