Guam - A substitute version of Sen. Michael San Nicolas' Bill 268 was added to session agenda when lawmakers reconvened at around 5 o'clock Saturday. Just minutes after 8 o'clock the amended bill passed by majority vote.
The new bill prohibits raises for the Governor, Lt. Governor , Legislature, Directors, Deputy Directors, Attorney General, Public Auditor, and Judges of the Superior Court of Guam. Sen. Chris Duenas motioned to recess until Tuesday to allow for more time to review the new bill. The motion was denied.
A public hearing on Bill 268 was heard just this past Friday and was supposed to continue on Monday. The original version of the bill would have tied raises for the Governor, Lt. Governor, Cabinet members, the Attorney General and the Public Auditor to several performance standards. Senator San Nicolas on the floor said the performance requirement was removed because during Friday's hearing Department of Administration Director Benita Manglona failed to provide any specifics regarding the hay pay plans. Under the new bill hay pay raises will be implemented for the general pay plan, nurses pay plan, and the attorney pay plan. Mayors will only see a $10,000 raise. Under the Governor's plan Mayors would have earned $75,000 per year, under Bill 268 their pay would only bump up to $56,000.
Sen. Tina Muna Barnes said she would rather see raises for mayors at the level set under the Governor's hay pay proposal. Sen. Tommy Morrison said he really didn't feel that lawmakers should be tampering with the hay pay proposal, "this bill is completely deviating from years and years of investment of money our taxpayers money in putting this plan in place. Im not sure what precedent we're setting here in the future when we put in place studies to assist in this process to completely deviate and pick and choose what should be in the plan and what should not. Let's be real here," Sen. Morrison added.
Sen. Pangelinan stood in support of the bill and said they could not give raises to everybody. "You take care of the people in the trenches first that's your classified and unclassified employees that are covered under these proposals," Pangelinan said. "No director is going to go hungry, he added.
Sen. San Nicolas hopes the money saved from elected leaders not receiving raises will go to the Department of Education. He also said there was concern that should the legislature not act on the substitute bill today the Governor might not act on it and instead his hay pay raise proposal would lapse into law.
The Governor is hoping to see the hay pay raises go into effect on Valentine's Day. The new bill however sets an implementation date of February 9th. Additionally it appears raises will not be implemented until such time the Governor submits detailed information to the Legislature outlining just how much it's going to cost the government. Lawmakers are mandating that a specific cost breakdown by agency be submitted. If the Governor does not submit the information by February 9th, then the raises would be implemented retroactively to that date.
All the democrat senators voted in favor of the bill while all the republican senators present voted no. Senators Brant McCreadie and Aline Yamashita were excused.
You can read the new bill here: http://18.104.22.168/Committee_Reports_32nd/Bill%20No.%20268-32%20(COR)%20ComReport.pdf
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