Governor Calvo reports to first day at work - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Governor Calvo reports to first day at work

by Lannie Walker

Guam - Governor Eddie Calvo rolls up his sleeves and gets right to work in his first day in office today with his most pressing matter at-hand being island finances. As the governor adds new members to his cabinet, a leader in the Guam Legislature goes to work on a bill he hopes will turn around the dire financial straits the new administration is staring down. 

A new day dawned at Adelup and with it a new era, as Governor Calvo and Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio hosted a flag-raising ceremony and ecumenical service signifying their first day in office as the highest-ranking officials in the Government of Guam.

"There's something even greater there's a spiritual side as us as human beings," said the island's eighth elected chief executive. "It's so important that in this service, in prayer, we put that as major component of this administration."

An administration that is filling out, with more cabinet appointments announced today:

  • John C. Salas returns to government service as the Chief of the Guam Fire Department
  • Colonel Rafael Sgambelluri moves up the ladder as acting director of the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency
  • Tommy Morrison heads up the Bureau of Statistics and Plans
  • Ray Topasna, Jr. has been named the director of the Guam Energy Office

The cabinet had their meeting with Governor Calvo this morning. "I thank our cabinet for answering the call to public service and as a reminder all our paychecks come from the people of Guam, so what I expect fro our cabinet is a clear understanding that they work and serve the people of Guam," Calvo said.

One main way the Governor Calvo has vowed to serve the people is by stabilizing GovGuam's finances. That financial vision that at Adelup seems to be shared at the Guam Legislature, as the third bill introduced in the 31st Legislature, authored by Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz aims to go straight to the heart of Guam's financial hardship.  

Said Cruz, "A lot of people aren't happy about there are the partisans that don't believe we should be doing anything to try to figure out how to get out of this there are the ones you can't possibly thinking about tax increases or eliminating positions or departments. And I'm like, if we're going to go forward we have to have everything on the table."

The first step forward for the vice speaker is introducing a bill that he says is modeled after federal legislation that would create a committee to take a hard look at the government finances and come up with some hard decisions. He explained, "The governor would have four appointees, two from each party, the speaker would have two appointees and they would be members of the Legislature and the minority leaders. Senators Frank Blas, Jr. would have two appointees so that both parties are represented from the Legislature."

Among its responsibilities the eight-member panel will be required to propose specific recommendations to improve the government's fiscal outlook and to address the solvency of the Government of Guam Retirement Fund.

While no official stance on the bill has been issued by the governor, as of yet, it was in late November during the transition process Calvo wrote the vice speaker saying he believes his idea of a bi-partisan commission is novel and innovative. The letter went on to state, "It certainly merits consideration as a vehicle to assist you, me, your colleagues and our entire government out of the financial predicament we now face." 

A public hearing on Cruz's bill is scheduled for January 19. According to the vice-speaker, time is of the essence, with Calvo saying, "If they just all sit down and agree that these are going to be the things that we want to do so that we stop treading water and start swimming forward, because otherwise we're going to drown real soon."

The government is currently is facing an estimated $100 million budget shortfall.

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