Hearing dissects Calvo's spending cuts proposal - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Hearing dissects Calvo's spending cuts proposal

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - We've been hearing about the governor's spending cuts proposals for months and now lawmakers are holding a roundtable assessment with public sector human resource professionals, department heads and community stakeholders hoping to ensure the proposal estimated to save GovGuam up to $70 million is throughout understood by the people it will touch.

The Committee on General Government Operations hopes that in the next few weeks that it can determine the full impact of the governor's spending cuts bill. It was last week when committee chair Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz says he was most concerned at how the governor's proposal may seriously affect women on maternity leave, teachers, firemen, the sick, the retired and national guardsmen on deployment.

According to the governor's deputy press secretary Phillip Leon Guerrero, he says this is yet another needless scare tactic put on by the vice speaker. "And there is a lot of misinformation being put out by the vice speaker's office - a lot of needless attacks that do nothing but worry our families that they're going to be affected in ways that they're not," he said.

Relative to the National Guard, he says the bill doesn't take away from the livelihood of men and women in the armed forces, nor does it take away from the 15 days of military leave provided to deployed servicemen and women. "All this bill does, and the measure that he's objecting to, all it does is reduce the amount of days that other employees can donate from 90 to 60 days which is the federal standard 0826 and it puts it under the sole reasons for medical reason which was the original intent of the leave sharing law," said Leon Guerrero.

He says DOA director Benita Manglona and a number of her HR personnel will be available to the Guam Legislature and the public to set the record straight on several of the measures which ultimately are needed to pay for the tax refunds. They include:

  • an early retirement program
  • amortization of unfunded liability by 10 years to 2041
  • reduction in holiday pay, elimination of GFD non-productive pay plus reduction of GFD overtime to six hours
  • elimination of GFD incentive pay, elimination of annual leave cash out
  • reduction of paternity leave to industry standards
  • caps on leave sharing to 480 hours per occasion limit to medical reasons

However, he adds the proposals are no secret and have been discussed for months by the Spending Cuts Task Force. He said, "These cuts and proposals weren't made in a vacuum. We went to every single village to elicit and solicit input from the public. The Spending Cuts Task Force has been meeting so financial experts have been mulling over these proposals, too. And again, as we've seen, Governor Calvo is open to alternative spending cuts."

Guam National Guard adjutant general Benny Paulino meanwhile adds an estimated 10% of our soldiers deploying with the 1-294th Infantry Regiment are GovGuam employees and knowing what impact the proposed GovGuam leave sharing changes will have on them as individual will be difficult to gauge from his perspective as this would be unique to each individual involved. The hearings meanwhile begin tomorrow discussing cuts related to firemen.

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