DOA criticizes senators for getting in way of pay raises - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

DOA criticizes senators for getting in way of pay raises

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - The war of words continues. Department of Administration director Benita Manglona didn't hold back in her special address Tuesday on how she really felt about lawmakers and their criticism of the governor's pay raise plan proposal. Today, Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz, one of Manglona's most stern critics, shared his thoughts on her address, just as a cost breakdown of the plan was set to finally be released.

Cruz says he hasn't had a chance to listen or read Manglona's special address on upcoming salary increases for GovGuam employees. "I wouldn't waste my time," he said sharply.  

The special address criticized lawmakers, specifically Speaker Judi Won Pat, Ben Pangelinan, and Cruz for not only putting on what she called a "dog and pony show" but getting in the way of paying GovGuam employees competitive wages. "Their record shows no credibility. All they have ever done in the past three years is get in the way of progress," she said.

"I have had two hearings, I sent her three letters and anything she wanted to say she could of and should of said it at the Guam Legislature," said Cruz. 

Those two hearings were specifically on the governor's pay raise plan proposal where lawmakers specifically wanted answers as to how much the plan would cost broken down by agency. "We as a legislature have the responsibility to try and figure out what is going on and we need to know where the $20 million is supposedly being spent," he added.

And while Manglona had failed to provide that information to lawmakers in the past two weeks, just like she did at the public hearing, questioned senator's sudden criticism in her address when in 2010 they appropriated $13 million to implement the pay raises with no questions asked.

"When the Hay Plan was implemented four years ago - there was no money for it. And do you know what Speaker Won Pat and Senator Pangelinan and Vice Speaker BJ Cruz said about it in 2010? Nothing. Do you know what their scrutiny was? Nothing. How many hearing did they hold to address this? None," she said.

The Administration meanwhile further criticizes legislation that was passed by the Democratic majority last weekend. Manglona says Bill 268 will cost two times more than the governor's plan, which proposes a phased-in implementation of the raises this fiscal year costing $7.7 million whereas the Legislature's plan is demanding a full implementation at a cost of $15 million.

"They want us to squeeze a laguana into a mancanita. They got upset that I didn't provide them a breakdown of our $7 million plan, yet they are pushing for a $15 million plan without explanation," she said. "That sounds like voodoo math to me."

And for the vice speaker, because of mistakes that were made in the past, its probably best that lawmakers questions now and prevent history from repeating itself. "Well, if we made a mistake in 2010 by not asking, then we're not going to make that same mistake today and we're going to ask and we're going to ask and we're going to ask," he said.

Cruz adds he can't figure out why DOA hasn't been forthcoming with its information only saying it is "irresponsible." he says lawmakers might not have even amended the governor's plan had DOA provided the information to show the plan was sufficient - something Cruz adds he's still not convinced it is.

Speaker Judi Won Pat meanwhile released a statement saying Bill 268 doesn't eliminate the Governor's phased in approach and hopes our government can move past the rhetoric and work together to do what is right for our employees.

Manglona meanwhile says she's concerned lawmakers will stop the Hay plan from happening for purely political reasons. The Governor's Office meanwhile this morning said Manglona would be releasing the agency-by-agency breakdown of costs to the public today. 

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