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More efforts underway to repeal salary increases

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 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Legislation to repeal salary increases for elected leaders and political appointees may have failed, but other efforts are still underway.

Governor Eddie Calvo says the salary increases for political appointees and elected leaders needs to happen in order to correct discrepancies in compensation within the Government of Guam. "I made a commitment from Day One that we were going to rectify it and present a plan that was unified so I'm happy to see that the Legislature also agreed and have moved forward and I'm happy to see that Mike San Nicolas' bill was defeated. I feel Mike unfortunately was playing politics and it can be easily identified on some of the actions taken to correct these discrepancies," he shared.

And while San Nicolas's Bill 435 to repeal the salary increase failed on session floor, other efforts continue. A petition by the group "Guamanians for Fair Government" has been circulating in the community calling for elected officials on Guam to reduce their salaries. Part of the online petition has already collected over 900 online signatures. The group's petition states "this action is an affront to the general public on Guam who continue to endure substandard results on social and economic issues facing the island. Furthermore, the territory and population of Guam does not justify such high salary levels." Governor Calvo gives his reaction to the petition.

"I think if they are going to move forward in repealing this, then we might as well repeal everything because we're going to hear the same sucking sound," he added. Governor Calvo says, at least for his appointed officials, it's evidenced there's been a lot of good work under their watch, but are still getting paid less in like positions in much smaller government agencies.

"They're getting less pay with more responsibilities then any one of these autonomous agencies but unfortunately they can't get higher pay than the governor, so if people have a problem with the governor's pay then that means they have a problem with every appointed official under the governor and that's just how it works you don't see in other communities where subordinates get higher pay than their executives," he said.

In the meantime, Calvo says he hopes detractors can see how implementing the pay increase will only bring harmony when it comes to the wage and pay scales for all positions in the Government of Guam. "I'm hopeful they will look at thinks in its totality and understand there's major gaps in the compensation system of the Government of Guam," he said.

Calvo meanwhile says just as he made a donation when he took a pay cut at the beginning of his term, he will again make a donation with his increase. Calvo says he hopes to get the retro checks out before Christmas.
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