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Several directors voluntarily take pay cut

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - While lawmakers continue to discuss the governor's spending cuts bill, several of Eddie Calvo's cabinet members have announced that they are voluntarily taking a cut in their pay. "We want to basically show and let the Legislature know that we are serious about spending cuts," said John Rios.

Rios, the Bureau of Budget & Management Research's director, is one of several department and agency heads who have voluntarily offered to take a 10% cut from their salary. Rios says it was not an act asked of Governor Calvo, but rather a personal decision. "And the use of the money is to not go purchase new things - we want to use it so we can reduce the deficit, pay the tax refunds off, make sure that we're caught up and its being fiscally responsibly," he explained.

Rios joins Bureau of Statistics & Plans director Tommy Morrison, Department of Youth Affairs director Adonis Mendiola, Chamorro Affairs president Joseph Cameron, Civil Service Commission executive director Tony Lamorena, Guam Ancestral Lands Commission director David Camacho, Rev & Tax director John Camacho and Guam National Guard adjutant general Benny Paulino. Morrison and Mendiola are running for senator in the November general election.

Camacho meanwhile says he's seen first-hand the struggles our people who are owed their tax refunds, noting, "I think what other directors are doing now and even the cabinet members did last year when they took the 10% cut, I wanted to join them and put something in the pot for getting the people their refunds." Both Rios and Camacho make close to $89,000 annually in which about $18,000 would be dedicated to tax refunds.

"Maybe it won't cover everything, but it will help," Rios said.

And while he's not necessarily asking the senators to take a cut in their pay, he is hoping that senators see the sacrifice and maybe use their power to take action on other measures that would help with the government's financial situation. "There are other spending cuts they do have control over by passing bills and other unfunded mandates that maybe they would want to remove from the books," he added.

Governor Calvo meanwhile issued a release saying he's humbled by the outpouring of personal support calling their efforts selfless and real leadership. He added the Guam Legislature should take note of what some of the directors are willing to do and the sacrifices they are willing to make for our people.

Whether members of the 31st Guam Legislature will follow suite meanwhile remains to be seen.

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