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Tenorio discusses DOC personnel with officials

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by Jolene Toves

Guam - It's no secret that DOC has had its share of challenges, many of which lead back to one fundamental problem they have had for years and that is a lack of personnel.  

Finding a solution to Department of Corrections staffing woes was the focus of the lieutenant governor's meeting with the department, BBMR, DOA and Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz this morning. Over the last several years DOC has lost 50 employees which has impacted the facility.

DOC is hoping to hire a total of 55 personnel but has met several hang ups in the hiring process from not having an approved list of cleared applicants from DOC, funding from BBMR to delays in scheduling polygraph tests. While Vice Speaker Cruz hopes to see six positions filled by next week and movement on another 18 by Christmas, according to DOC director Jose San Agustin, six are scheduled to undergo polygraph testing next week.

Meanwhile, according to DOA's HR administrator Shane Ngata, there are 200 applicants which need to undergo testing for qualification. Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio said, "We'll expedite the process of the DOA reviewing the 200 applicants and see if we can get that out as early as in early January preferably the first week that will give you a one month time frame to do your interviews and then go through the process DOI funding will be cleared hopefully by January which will give us access to $950,000 some of which will go towards filling the positions and some maybe to pay some of the overtime."

Exploring all options to ensure DOC can operate efficiently and reduce personnel costs the Tenorio asked the vice speaker to help push Senator Brant McCreadie's bill to build a new prison. But the vice speaker was reluctant, saying, "I think everybody knows my position on building prisons I'd build a school before I'd build a prison."

While the lieutenant governor reminded the vice speaker that the island cannot afford another consent decree, the vice speaker responded we also cannot afford to build and house inmates at $120/day per inmate and suggested other avenues such as recruiting and hiring returning National Guardsmen, forcing the issue with federal government to deport Compact impact inmates and exploring electronic monitoring to reduce doc expenses.  

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