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Another lawsuit filed against DepCor

by Nick Delgado

Guam - It's now going on 12 weeks since the Department of Corrections has paid overtime to its workers. And the delay in payment has forced the agency employees to file a class action lawsuit against the Department of Administration as well as the very agency they work for.  

At least 10 employees with DepCor are fed up when it comes to waiting for their overtime pay. The group brought their frustrations to Attorney Dan Somerfleck, hoping to finally get compensated for their hard work.  "They're working and not being paid at all," he told KUAM News. "It would be one thing if they were getting paid their regular salary, but they're not even getting paid their regular hourly wage when they work overtime.  They are getting paid nothing."

The lawsuit is against DepCor director J.B. Palacios and DOA director Lou Perez. Since February the officers have not been paid their $1 million in overtime, and what's worse, is they are also behind on hazardous pay and night differential.  "Here they are working and putting in the extra hours and they have nothing to show for it," noted Somerfleck. "And another thing that comes into play with this is these correction workers have families and obligations to make."

The lawyer also added that being behind in payments is not something new for the Government of Guam.  "For some reason, within the government there's this view that we could do what we're obligated to do and we allow it to almost build up and build, and I'm told that to my chagrin that there's police officers and the fire department that are also not being paid there overtime."

Palacios meanwhile tells KUAM News that about $500,000 from the Budget Office has been loaded in to DepCor's account to pay for the OT. However, the Governor's Office says that the release of any funds is at a stand still and awaits the review of the BBMR, director who is currently on leave until Monday.

Palacios says he is aware of the lawsuit and that he's is working with DOA and BBMR to get the funds out. But Somerfleck says they will still take the matter to the courts.

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