Calvo cabinet meets, discusses reorganization - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Calvo cabinet meets, discusses reorganization

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Thursday morning, the Governor's Office met with his entire cabinet for a seminar and training session and discussed the proper process that each director has to go through in order to proceed with layoff notices. Although vague with details to report, the Governor's Office met today with the different agency heads to discuss each department's reorganization plans and to alleviate some of the strain as the government faces a difficult cash position.

Chalan Pago resident Paul Heflin believes that just like a personal checking account, whatever funds you have in it, that's all you're allowed to spend. But unlike the government, he believes they have gone over the line in spending resulting in its current financial crunch. Having experienced a downsizing himself working in the ship repair industry, he understands what the governor is trying to do. "It took this long, it's about time actually that's the way I see, I see the part where they're going to try to find them in the private sector, I think that's pretty good, too," he explained.

Unlike Heflin, Speaker Judi Won Pat doesn't necessarily see downsizing as a good thing, calling on Governor Eddie Calvo in her Weekly Radio Address to release more specific details about his plans for reorganization and layoffs. She announced, "I'm against a layoff when one you don't have a plan; you don't know why other than the fact that you need to cutback and you got to really look at each individual department to determine how large it is, why it's large, and what are the services they're providing, because don't forget when they saw our government is growing its not growing to the extent that we just want to continue to add people its because there's a demand for more services."

The speaker did say that although she supports streamlining the government through the consolidation of agencies and divisions, she doesn't support the termination of classified government personnel without first exhausting all other options. She suggests stepping up efforts to apply for federal grants.

Governor's chief of staff Frank Arriola had no comment on Won Pat's address, but reiterated that Governor Calvo has been utilizing federal funding and has factored it into the government's day-to-day cash operations. Arriola added however Guam can't continue to bank on Uncle Sam.  "And the U.S. federal government…has its own challenges. As a matter fact, we are talking to our cabinet members to look at their federal programs and grants and be aware that the federal government is in a cost cutting mode as well. So we need to look at those particular programs to ensure that our programs aren't affected negatively."

In terms of releasing more information to lawmakers, Adelup today said they'll need 24 hours before any public information will be available. Arriola is currently looking over reports submitted from different agency heads ranging from cost reduction plans to their own reorganization programs.

He expects to have recommendations for the governor tomorrow morning, saying, "There were really some aggressive and progressive proposals put forth by some of our cabinet members and addressed many of the cash flow issues as well as some personnel and department consolidations and we're going to look over those sort of things."

In the meantime the first general layoff off notice will go out Friday, advising all GovGuam employees that layoffs are potentially on the horizon. The individuals who occupy certain positions that have been identified as being no longer required will be notified within 30 days from the general notice. Arriola stresses that layoffs are not being looked on as personal but as a position situation.

For residents like Maria Hernandez from Mangilao, if layoffs need to happen then so be it because its not just Guam that's suffering financially but other communities across the country including Puerto Rico, where she's originally from. She told KUAM News, "Everywhere the government is laying off a lot of people, I don't know how the United States is going to work with that because Guam is part of the United States, but this needs for drastic measurements."

The Organic Act gives the governor the authority to implement a reorganization plan however the speaker stresses that the governor follow proper procedures so that the potential for class action lawsuit suits don't occur causing even more problems for the government.

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