Millions in retroactive partial payments made to law enforcement - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Millions in retroactive partial payments made to law enforcement

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - After years of waiting for the government to make good on its promise and comply with the law, the island's public safety personnel received a portion of what is owed to them.  The Department of Administration processed 1,127 checks totaling more than $10 million dollars in retroactive law enforcement pay.

"This was a big project for us working with the governor's fiscal group, payroll, human resources, accounting, entire department came together to complete this major project. It's a milestone for the governor," detailed DOA deputy director Tony Blaz. He says staff worked tirelessly with public safety agency personnel to crunch the numbers and ensure that the checks were ready for distribution today.  Staff spent several hours today sorting through the checks setting aside those belonging to inactive government employees who resigned, retired, were terminated or are deployed.

Blaz added, "Like retirees and things of the sort take it out and so the retirees can come to the Treasurer of Guam and pick up their checks and those people who are part of the list of law enforcement."

While some personnel were eligible for a check, Blaz says it may have been garnished due to child support arrears or other obligations to the government.  Representatives from each department picked up the checks for distribution to personnel this afternoon.  Some Guam Fire Department personnel however will have to wait until tomorrow. Spokesperson Lieutenant Ed Artero says personnel who were working today can pick up their checks from payroll on Saturday between 8am and noon.  Artero also said the decision was made for each individual firefighter to come in and receive their check rather than distributing to each fire station.

Today's partial payment also effectively stops the bleeding as personnel will see the implementation of the remaining 20% in their paychecks next Friday. It's something the judiciary is hoping for as well. Chief Justice F. Philip Carbullido wrote letters to the governor and the speaker requesting assistance to fund the full implementation of the pay adjustments for marshals and probation officers. The chief justice noted, "Without such assistance, a serious disparity will exist, creating a situation of inequity for these Judiciary employees and would potentially cause dysfunction within the public safety arena." 

The courts need approximately $900,000 to adjust the pay and bring them up to the full 40% mandated by law through the end of the fiscal year. Judiciary oversight chair Senator Frank Aguon Junior meanwhile wrote a similar letter to the governor requesting for his assistance noting he is ready to draft legislation if it is necessary.

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