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Senators meeting over Calvo's cuts

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Following Governor Eddie Calvo's executive order last Friday cutting holiday pay to industry standards, resulting in more than $4 million a year in savings, lawmakers are meeting this evening where discussions continue on the governor's spending cuts bill.  "Something has to be done," said Calvo.

According to the governor, he signed an executive order late last week cutting holiday pay to industry standards - specifically cutting holiday pay to time and a half as opposed to the current standard of double-time. "I can appreciate a roundtable or a hearing but in the end there's got to be results to that and so far from what I've seen from the Legislature, there's a lot of critiques and a lot of criticisms on these cuts, I'll be the first to admit it, nobody likes cuts. But in the end in order to restore a balance to our government finances, cuts need to be made," he said.

The executive order comes as Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz's Committee on General Government Operations holds another set of roundtable meetings this week to address the governor's spending cuts bill. Relative to the executive order, Cruz says it's the governor's prerogative to do so, noting, "He will have to answer on the people himself on that one, so I'm disappointed that he did it. We have always paid our employees double time if they work during the holiday, those policemen, firemen, the nurses that are there."

He does add, however, that an executive order should be taken on other areas of cuts such matters dealing with cashing out on leave.  And relative to cuts, tonight's hearing will focus on the reduction or the repeal of the nurses' hours in accumulated leave along with providing an opportunity for the National Guard to share their concerns on the leave sharing provision for deployment purposes, which limits it specifically for medical purposes.

"I don't want to prejudge what's going to happen," he added. "I'm going to wait and hear what the testimony is and I'm hoping that the testimony will be compelling enough to take action one way or the other."

The hearings meanwhile continue on Tuesday with the Retirement Fund relative to early retirement.

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