Islanders sound off on repealing pay raises - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Islanders sound off on repealing pay raises

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 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It was late last year when lawmakers, elected officials and political appointees received raises and retro pay, a public hearing is being held tonight at the Guam Legislature on legislation to rescind the raises and repeal the public law. So what do the people of Guam think about it?

Just weeks after legislation was shot down that would revoke the pay raises senators approved for themselves in November, another bill is again before the Guam Legislature. "I think it's a wonderful thing to repeal them," expressed Ginny Godsoe.

Bill 4 introduced by Senator Michael San Nicolas seeks to rescind the pay raises for elected and appointed officials by repealing Public Law 32-208. Godsoe, from Mangilao, supports the bill's intent, saying, "Why? because they keep giving themselves raises and then they keep taking from other things that should have the money secondly when you don't pass things in congress and in the senate, you should not be paid for that."

San Nicolas has long opposed raises for elected leaders and even introduced similar legislation late last year but it failed on session floor. For some like Barrigada resident Ben Taisapic, he asked lawmakers a questioned posed at a recent hearing on similar legislation. "What makes them so special on a small population and a small island and making more?" he challenged.  "They want to fatten their belly up first and they consider the people homeless or whatever (some people are hurting too). For a small island, population 159,000 or 170,000 at the most, they're making more than people in the States with the population at 11 million, what is their responsibility?"

But it's not just raises that caused uproar, but retroactive payments given to senators and the Executive Branch. Dededo resident Theodore Abella said, "They may deserve the increase, but it's big, can you imagine, that's a lot of money and to top it off, I think it should not be retroactive not even anywhere I heard that raises are retroactive for almost a year it's ridiculous," he said.

along with reducing the salaries of elected and appointed officials to the level before raises were given, Bill 4 would also prohibit the waiving of the public hearing requirement for any legislation that would raises salaries of elected officials. Tamuning resident Tim Rock believes Bill 4 is more upfront for the people. "Nothing ever came before the public for any sort of input, it just happened after the election and I think there should be more public input as far as giving people quite a bit of money out of pockets and maybe we want to have some say in it," Rock said.-BUTT-

Along with Bill 4, a public hearing will also be heard on Resolution 2-33 which asks Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo to introduce legislation in Congress to amend the Organic Act to prohibit elected officials from enacting pay raises until an election has intervened. 
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