No politics in hiring, says DepCor director - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

No politics in hiring, says DepCor director

by Nick Delgado

Guam - The Department of Corrections is in the process of the largest hiring in its history.  While concerns have been raised about the selection process, the agency's director denies any politics in the process.  More than 300 people applied for a Corrections Officer I position, but after a long selection process, only 26 applicants were chosen.  

DepCor director J.B. Palacios says the hiring process this time around was more extensive, as applicants had to undergo a background investigation, a psychological evaluation and an interview before a selection committee.  "The two highest-anking uniformed officers were a part of that selection committee," he said, adding, "it wasn't just me exercising my authority, which is, have and I could've saying that the ultimate authority is with me and I don't have to listen to anybody. In this case we've taken over 200 years of correctional experience combined and put it to a vote."

A total of 26 individuals were selected from a list of 54 applicants from the Department of Administration.  "We take that into account that they are all qualified but we look for is the best candidate for the job," he said.  KUAM received several calls from concerned individuals who disagreed with the selections claiming applicants who scored lower were hired before others who scored higher in the interview, written and observation portions of the process.

"For me to just go down the line from 1 to 26 will be very unfair to the remainder that also qualified because number 54 qualifies just as much as number one," said Palacios.  "I'm going to select somebody that's going to volunteer, not only to work the overtime but also volunteer in some of the activities of the department."

Palacios vehemently denies that politics played a part in the hiring process.

"I never got a call from Adelup and as far as the pare system if that was the case then maybe I would've waited until my nephews name came up or my goddaughters name came up," he added.

DepCor is utilizing a $700,000 appropriation in the current fiscal year budget to pay for the 26 new corrections officers, but Palacios says there are still four vacancies with the recent resignations of officers.

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