Adelup responds to senators objecting to pay increase - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Adelup responds to senators objecting to pay increase

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - In the week since Governor Eddie Calvo submitted the Hay Group's study plan to the Guam Legislature, a lot of criticism has been raised over the proposed salary increases for elected officials, including the senators themselves. But what does the Governor's Office think of all the talk?

Several senators from both sides of the aisle have come out against their proposed salary increase as outlined in the hay study plan. It would bring their salaries from $65,000 to $85,000. "Good for them," said director of communications Troy Torres. "If they don't want to take the pay increase then it's as simple as filling out a payroll form at the Legislature and saying they won't take the pay increase there doesn't need to be this whole hullabaloo and circus in the media that's obviously election year grandstanding."

It was just yesterday when Speaker Judi Won Pat on behalf of the Democrat senators came out stating they firmly opposed any senatorial salary increases whereas Senator Michael Limtiaco, among several republican senators stated he was alarmed over the astonishing increase. And while he questions the motives of some, he further raises concern over statements he's heard from some senators who were against paying increases for unclassified employees. "We're talking about the unclassified who work in the agencies, who have positions that are critical to the function of the government," he said.

We should note senators were actually never included in the original Hay study and were only added by the governor through the recommendation of DOA's Human Resources Division. If there's so much controversy over senator's pay increase why include them at all? "Could you imagine if the senators found out they were included in the Hay plan and we were the ones who yanked them out. There would be a whole different conversation today they'd be screaming Bloody Mary right now about how they weren't included and this was unfair," he said.

Some have even questioned the $20,000 increase for senators that would make them the second highest compensated legislators. Torres says Guam senators differ from those in the States. "These are senators who work beyond 8 to 5 at least the ones I've seen, there out in the community, they're working all the time and I think a lot of that goes into the rationale," he explained.

And with all this talk about senators, what about our chiefs executive? Torres says the governor and lieutenant governor will not be receiving an increase as matter of choice. "When the governor's job rate under hay plan was pegged at $1.2 million, his market rate was pegged at $150,000, so the change that the governor made was he reduced it to $130,000 and said he would not take it and it would apply to the next gubernatorial term," he said.

Torres adds while he won't be receiving an increase, directors will as are cabinet members, many of whom Torres says are severely underpaid. He says there was a time when the government was financially bind that even had members of the Executive Branch taking a voluntary cut - today however he says is a different situation as GovGuam is financially healthier. He ultimately hopes the Guam Legislature makes no changes to the plan saying if they don't like their pay increase, they can simply give it back and do it on their own calling it a matter of personal and individual responsibility.

"And if the Legislature starts tinkering with the Hay plan simply because they panicked in a political year about their pay increase and they're going to take everyone else down with them in the ship, then I don't know that's a real shame," he said.

An informational briefing on the Hay plan is set for this Friday at 10:30am at the Guam Legislature's Public Hearing Room. 

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