Law enforcers fight for owed OT - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Law enforcers fight for owed OT

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 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - The Guam Legislature was filled with emergency response officials, but not to respond to an emergency but rather to fight for money that's owed to them. Law enforcement officials made their way downtown to show their support for legislation introduced by Governor Eddie Calvo.

Chief of Police Fred Bordallo said, "Not only does it help the men and women of the Guam Police Department, but as you can see here at the legislature there are other people who will be benefiting from this like Department of Corrections and fire personnel all part of the Department of Public Safety who are working hard to keep Guam safe."

The bill was introduced today and appropriates four million from the unappropriated, unallocated fund balance of the Tourist Attraction Fund and from the surplus balance of the 2007 General Obligation Bond Series 'A'. But it's not just GPD benefitting from the bill, but also the Department of Corrections and the Guam Fire Department. GFD chief Joey San Nicolas said, "I basically see it as the governor and the government as a whole, including the Legislature showing true priority to public safety - for this bill in particular to allow us to continue to pay our personnel what they rightfully deserve as they serve our island everyday."

The bill allocates funds for overtime including prior years with $1.5 million allocated to GPD, $1 million for DOC and $1.5 million for GFD.  San Nicolas says while his personnel have been paid to date, this $1.5 million is a piece of puzzle in recovering the shortfall of the budget. "You can plan and plan and plan but overtime is irregular and there are many factors that would cause the need for overtime," he explained. "So these little things, although they're planned to the best of our ability, you can never get to the 100% solution."

And for DepCor director Jose San Agustin, he's looking for cooperation with senators in passing this bill, saying, "The less changes and amendments done the less painful it is for themselves but also those officers owed their overtime." He adds overtime is owed to up to 174 DepCor officers for July, August and September.

"It is impacting our officers, it's impacting our financial status as well, so we're working together to minimize that overtime," he said.

The Department of Administration and BBMR were also on hand to help dissect the bill and its funding source.

Bordallo in the meantime says law enforcement personnel will be paying close attention to the action of lawmakers today, noting, "Just opposing any measure to not pay what is due to the fire, police and corrections sends a message to all of our organizations."

In his letter to the Speaker Judi Won Pat today, Governor Calvo says, "It is critical to public safety that our law enforcement personnel are supported...through this bill, we as a community affirm that the work of law enforcement personnel is recognized and valued."
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