GPD fined almost $50K for not paying OT - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GPD fined almost $50K for not paying OT

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - Major federal fines are working there way around the Government of Guam's law enforcement agencies. The U.S. Department of Labor is penalizing the Guam Police Department almost $50,000 for not paying its officers overtime for the last quarter of Fiscal Year 2010.

GPD Captain Mark Charfauros says they owe 225 employees more than $200,000 in overtime. "There has been a complaint filed by employees to the USDOL and upon their investigation the department has been late in paying overtime in a timely manner," he told KUAM News. "The reason why the overtime is late is because the government collection and revenues have come short and it has delayed the payments of overtime."

The letter from USDOL Assistant District Director Patrick Candoleta to Chief of Police Fred Bordallo states the overtime issues were disclosed after other investigations were conducts in 2002, 2005, and 2007 showing that GPD was not compliant with paying its employees. Despite GPD's assurance to the feds of full future labor compliance, Charfauros admits the fine was a result of a fourth complaint being filed against the department for lack of overtime payment.

He says they are hoping to enter into a promissory note with USDOL, noting, "We are looking at the fine, which is very difficult for the department to pay in this point in time simply because the shortfall in our budget," adding, "there are many issues that will happen if we don't pay it but we are looking at a commitment to pay the fines and if we cant pay it then we need to inform the USDOL that we do have an intent to pay however in this fiscal year it will be difficult to pay."

CPT Charfauros says the department discussed the issue with the Bureau of Budget Management and Research this week. He says the agency is working to identify funds to pay off the overtime. The Guam Police Department isn't the only one facing these federal fines - the Department of Corrections confirms that they too were slapped with these same fines from USDOL last fiscal year.

DepCor owes its officers about $1.4 million for Fiscal Year 2010. Agency spokesperson Lieutenant Antone Aguon told KUAM News, "We were fined about $9,000 for violating overtime regulations, whether it was paid or not I don't know if it was paid yet."

Aguon says they also accrued more than $200,000 in overtime for the current fiscal year, and the department is concerned they may get slapped with another fine from the feds. "That's always a top concern, but we just don't have any money right now, we are trying to get it paid on our side but a lot of it comes down to availability of funds," he said.

In the meantime, GPD has less than 30 days to pay the fine or may face interest and penalties. Charfauros admits that even if they pay off the fine it does not resolve the issue that the department is short staffed. "The problem with GPD is when and issue comes up requiring us to be activated, we cant schedule on a regular basis and say this is how much homicides we are going to have, this is how much accidents we are going to have requiring additional personnel to participate," he said.

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