How does veto affect Port operations? - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

How does veto affect Port operations?

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - At the recommendation of the port general manager, Governor Eddie Calvo vetoed the substituted version of the Port Master Plan Bill calling it "inorganic" and "blatant infringement" on the management of the board of directors.

In his veto message of Bill 283, Governor Eddie Calvo says he wouldn't jeopardize the great strides to upgrade the port's facilities by allowing the legislature to interfere illegally with the process. "Obviously, I'm disappointed," expressed Senator Tom Ada. The oversight chair shared his disappointment with KUAM today saying after all the rhetoric at the end of the day there still isn't an approved master plan for the port. "And I believed having an approved Master Plan will be essential to the agency for it to be able to move forward and use it as a legitimate basis for petitioning for example the Public Utilities Commission for an increase in its tariffs to use it at a legitimate basis to go out to the bond to obtain capital that it needs to fund the capital improvements that have been identified."

For port general manager Joanne Brown, she says in terms of its current projects, the port will continue to move forward. "And we're very thankful the governor concurred with our findings on this and did veto the bill," she said.

It was earlier this month when Brown had accused Senator Ada of trying to micromanage the port with the substituted version. In his veto message, Governor Calvo says Bill 283 was inorganic and encroaches upon the autonomous power granted by the port's board of directors to control and manage its facilities. He further stated the port's revenue belongs to the port and not the general fund therefore it is not subject to the legislature's control.

"The legislature mandated this additional responsibility and then to try now to put constraints on how we manage that outside of our board and certainly management here, it's just totally inappropriate," said Brown.

Brown adds its disappointing that the port essentially had to go against legislation its employees and community partners put together because Senator Ada substituted it without acknowledging port management. As for what's next, Brown says that question is up in the air. "Currently we are looking at our legal authorities and certainly what legislation has been to in place to see if there's anything that would restrict the port from moving forward with any of the intended plans for the future or plans included in the modernization plan," she stated.

Brown says whether the plan is adopted or not, the port will still align itself with the modernization plan. Ada meanwhile believes the next course of action is to go back to the table with the board of directors in order to draft another bill to address the concerns identified by the governor. He hopes the new bill will at least include the two fuel facilities - F1 and Gulf Pier - in the capital improvement program.

Said Ada, "I believe an approved master plan as required by Guam law is essential."

Ada adds he will not attempt an override of the veto as he doesn't believe he could garner the votes. The substituted version of Bill 283 passed straight down party lines. 
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