Layoff notices sent throughout GovGuam - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Layoff notices sent throughout GovGuam

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Today general notices of proposed layoffs were sent out government-wide to nearly 7,000 employees notifying them that plans to conduct employee layoffs through their respective departments will occur. And although the Department of Administration plays a large role within handing out these notices, they too are being affected during this difficult time within the government.

"Yes we might be the ones working on this thing but we could very well be affected," said Rose Cruz. "And we are somewhat affected, it's hard to do something like this, we do get a lot of phone calls and we're trying to ease the worry."  Cruz works at DOA and is one of thousands of GovGuam employees who received a general notice today that layoffs are near. Ironically enough, she is the assistant human resources manager at DOA, which is handling the layoff process.

Although a tough time for the government, her agency shares the sentiment of GovGuam employees who are in the middle of Governor Eddie Calvo's reorganization plans to address the public sector's financial crisis. DOA Director Benita Manglona tells KUAM News that from today, each director is supposed to come up with their department's layoff plans and identify positions they can eliminate that are not essential to operation. She adds that the selection of positions must be justified.

"We're trying to educate each departments heads of the process of what needs to be done and it needs to be done properly so there won't be any appeals," he said.

Manglona says that having her signature on the general notice is disheartening because DOA has received floods of calls from GovGuam employees worried about their jobs. "It's really sad to go through this process, you have to see people lose their jobs because their dependent on their job for their livelihood but at the same time at the end of the day we just don't have enough funds to cover this size of government," she said.

Today's general notice states that if an employee feels they were not given the opportunities in the allotted time period to either volunteer for a transfer, demotion or accept a salary reduction following the written individual notice, they can appeal to the Civil Service Commission. She adds that these opportunities are in place to try and avert layoffs but doesn't necessarily mean you're job is safe either.

The written individual notice will notify you that your position has been targeted for abolishment. Employees who are released or voluntarily demoted will be placed on the layoff re-instatment list. "Layoff reinstatement list is for someone who is an incumbent whose position was targeted for layoff who has been affected, even if they are not completely out of the government or they took a demotion, this person gets on this list, you stay on it for two years and when things get better will be reinstated," she said.

Manglona says the written individual notice of layoff will not be given earlier than 30 days from receipt of the general notice for proposed layoff. Upon receipt of the written individual notice of layoff, employees have another 60 days before being affected by this process. However she is confident that the government can recover. "But I'm sure and I'm confident that there is room to streamline that the government and make this government more lean and efficient," she added.

In a message to GovGuam employees last night, Governor Calvo said that he has given strict instructions to the respective directors to ensure employees who underperform or conduct themselves against the rules will go through the adverse action process. Additionally, he said he is not looking to layoff a large percentage of the workforce all at once, but exhaust all avenues to cut costs before laying off classified employees.

The general notice distribution follows Governor Calvo's reorganization advisory number two today which stated that a notice of employment termination was sent to 17 unclassified employees.

Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz announced he plans on calling oversight hearings on the department of administration and the civil service commission to determine the legality and force of the notices issued today. He said the layoffs cannot be undertaken unless the department or agency has exhausted all available alternatives in relocating or reassigning employees before layoff is initiated including the termination of unclassified employees first. He says "the notices sent out today should not be considered valid because they do not contain individual employee retention standings are required by law."

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