Senators debate appointment of GMH trustees - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Senators debate appointment of GMH trustees

by Lannie Walker

Guam - Senators are split on how to address the appointment of the board of trustees at the Guam Memorial Hospital. While both the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch claim they are trying to improve the situation at the hospital, how that is accomplished has become a matter of contention.

Concerns involving the governor's empanelling of the trustees at GMH is being addressed by legislation introduced by Healthcare Committee chair Senator Dennis Rodriguez, Jr. Bill 127 is in response to this week's opinion issued by the attorney general determining a provision of law establishing a nominating council for the Guam Memorial Hospital board of trustees was inorganic.

Senator Rodriguez says lawmakers have many ways of working with the opinion and maintains the Legislature needs to have a greater hand in the selection of the board. "In the AG opinion that he released it was clear there that the authority of the legislature remains to the advice and consent so whoever he wants to serve up there must come before the confirmation process," he said.

Senator Ben Pangelinan, however, feels the legislation really isn't needed, it's a matter of perspective. "I want to say that there is really nothing at all preventing the governor from saying, 'I, with my Organic Act power, say that I want the nominating council to go forward.' If he had really true Organic Act power over the hospital he can decide that by virtue of his Organic Act power that he will designate a nominating council to help him select in the process outlined in the law qualified candidate for the board of trustees."

Lawmakers like Senator Rory Respicio in the meantime said he rises in support of the measure, but with trepidation. He further urged the governor's organic board to proceed with caution and not to move forward with their scheduled meeting next week. "If the governor does move forward and convenes this Organically Act created board on April 7, 2011. Then he's certainly going to be inviting a request by the legislature to the Supreme Court for declaratory judgment."

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