On paper, Paul Suba is still police chief - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

On paper, Paul Suba is still police chief

by Mindy Aguon

Guam - Paul Suba may have said he was retiring from the Guam Police Department and the agency is already preparing for his return as a police captain.  But apparently, Suba is technically still the chief of police.            

The top brass, who has been on administrative and annual leave since the announcement of his retirement on May 17, may not be running the show anymore.  But on the books he's still the man in charge.

Frank Ishizaki may be wearing two hats as the Acting Chief of Police and Guam Homeland Security Advisor, but apparently he only carries the title.  "If the GG1s are not signed, he's still on our books as chief of police," said Ishizaki of Suba, "and when the GG1s are signed, the chief of police position will be terminated for him and the captain's position will be reinstated for him."

Ishizaki is referring to two Government of Guam personnel forms he signed that were to take effect last Sunday.  The first would discontinue Suba's position as chief of police; the other would reinstate him to his previous position as a police captain. Although Suba publicly stated that he would retire, instead his paperwork for retirement was never processed and GG1s have now been signed and cleared by the governor's chief of staff, George Bamba, and the Bureau of Budget Management & Research, certifying the availability of funds.

The GG1s now sit at the Department of Administration, but acting DOA director John Camacho says the agency isn't ready to act on them just yet.  "It all depends on the opinion of the attorney general if this can be done," he told KUAM News.  "As for the effective date, we will look into that issue."

DOA is seeking an opinion from the AG on two conflicting laws - one that would allow Suba to return to his previous classified position and another that requires a police captain to have a college degree...something Suba doesn't have.  

Although Ishizaki stated that he received advice from the AG's Office that 5 GCA Section 3104, which allows the reinstatement, is applicable, DOA is waiting for the official legal opinion, which is still under review.  Lawmakers also repealed that particular section last week in Bill 271 that also does away with GPD's legal counsel.  That measure is currently being reviewed by the Camacho Administration.

Even though he demanded Suba's retirement, saying he would have terminated him if he didn't, after the loss of public confidence in the leadership at the department following the execution of a search warrant at the KUAM Studios in Harmon, Acting Governor Mike Cruz today says he doesn't have a problem with Suba returning to his previous post.

"The important thing is that he's no longer in the leadership, which is the concern that I had initially, where he had lost confidence of the people in his ability to lead the department," said Cruz. "If Ishizaki feels that his skills and his lifelong experience as a police officer are important enough so that we need him in there, then I respect that."

As for Bill 271, the acting governor says he's still reviewing the measure but expressed concerns if the provision was repealed for one specific individual.  

Acting Chief Ishizaki meanwhile is urging the Administration to veto the bill and his former colleagues in the Guam Legislature to reconsider, saying, "If you don't give them an opportunity to go back to the ranks, then we are going to further erode and cause tremendous challenges."

Suba meanwhile has been attending various meetings around the police department.  Although there's been discussion that he will be assigned to the Office of the Acting Police Commander to oversee the construction of the new police headquarters, Ishizaki says nothing is set in stone just yet.

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