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Fire chief asking senators to reconsider

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - Despite his nomination being moved back to Committee, Guam Fire Department Acting Chief John Salas is holding on to hope asking lawmakers to give him a chance to lead.

The clock is ticking for Salas to maintain his top position at GFD. While no lawmakers objected to pushing his nomination back to the Public Safety Committee rather than further discussing it on session floor, Salas says he's not giving up that easy. "I don't think it's dead, however I am looking forward to submitting my letters to the senators to ask for reconsideration. And bring back my nomination to the floor. I would also be calling them personally to ask them for this," said Salas.

Senator Rory Respicio made the motion to return Salas' nomination, saying, "You need to be able to have leaders whose leadership abilities are beyond reproach and GFD is definitely one of them, so for senators to one by one express concern about this ability to lead that department especially during these very challenging times would already inhibit his ability to move forward."

Public Safety Oversight Chair Senator Adolpho Palacios says it was obvious from his colleagues they all agree: Salas lacks decision making skills. Although during his first confirmation hearing it appeared he had the support of lawmakers, the tides turned it seems when Salas appeared before committee members for a continued hearing regarding the compensation of firefighters assigned to headquarters but still getting paid the same amount as firefighters who were assigned in the field working 24-hour shifts.

"It's other than talk for him and fight for him which is good and it's commendable but he is the one that's being confirmed for leadership, and he is the one we want to hear from," said Palacios.

While Salas' 90-day appointment expires in the next few days, Palacios says he wrote Governor Eddie Calvo today to get the ball rolling in sending over a new appointee. He detailed, "I request that the governor submit a nomination as soon as possible after April 4, let the appointment lapse and then as the committee chair I will begin the process to hold the confirmation of the next nominee."

Salas, however, is holding on to hope, saying, "Bring it back for voting and give me a chance, give me an opportunity to try and run my department. I feel my guys out there are really asking for me to stay in."

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