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Catholic Social Services employees unpaid

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - If only money would come that easy for Catholic Social Services, because employees there are at the mercy of the Department of Administration. The non-profit organization remains unable to make payroll for nearly a week.

For an agency whose main charge is giving to those in need, getting the payment for their services has become a struggle that is hitting the very employees who offer those services the hardest. CSS, a non-profit organization that provides the Government of Guam with a variety of services, is almost a week late in issuing paychecks to their 200 employees.

Executive director Diana Calvo says the reason is simple: the government has not paid up. "We had not been reimbursed for our services in October and November, and we have pretty much exhausted our resources to cover our expensed including payroll with the receipt of our government. So without any resources, no payroll was issued," she explained.

Calvo says GovGuam owes the organization about $1.5 million for services provided through last November. At least $230,000 is needed to make the payroll that was due on December 31. Calvo says several factors have contributed to DOA not having the money to pay CSS.

In addition to collections being low, in December DOA made a lump sum payment to the Department Mental Health, issued leave pay to outgoing cabinet members and issued retroactive checks to government employees under the hay Study pay increase recommendation. But whatever the reasons are, the result for CSS employees is dire.

"We have some who are having to explain to their landlords why they are not able to make rent this is the first week so we assume payments have to be made there are some who are having to make payments on their cars and utilities so they are using their resources whatever is available to them to tide them over until they can receive their check," Calvo stated.

It makes for a wait-and-see game that is not fun for any one. Calvo says of the $1.5 million owed, $400,000 in payments has been keyed-in at DOA. She says is in contact with that agency on a daily basis looking for answers on when her employees will see their overdue payday.

Calvo says she spoke with the deputy director of the Department of Administration today and was assured a check would be issued by tomorrow - hopefully it will be enough to make payroll.

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