Klitzkie still preaching lean senatorial practices - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Klitzkie still preaching lean senatorial practices

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He once described it as an attempt by lawmakers at pursuing royalty rather than frugality. And for former senator Bob Klitzie, his position on salary increases for lawmakers hasn't changed, as evident by his speech at today's Rotary Club of Tumon Bay meeting.

It's a day he says "will live in infamy", a day he says the Treasury of Guam was "suddenly and deliberately raided" by members of the Guam Legislature. "That November 21 was a Pearl Harbor surprise, it was a sneak attack," he analogized. "If you remember the events of last year as far as salaries were concerned." The former senator is referring to the day lawmakers passed legislation that would implement the Competitive Wage Act for the salaries of cabinet members and elected leaders such as the governor, lieutenant governor, the attorney general and the senators themselves. The vote took place just a few weeks after the general election last year.

"That was pretty bad," added Klitzkie. "But even worse, the Legislature had a time machine, so although they passed that salary increase on the 21st of November, it became effective on January 15. In other words, there was a retroactive salary increase; they weren't content with increasing salaries by $24,160 per year, or $48,320 per term - they had to make it retroactive back at the beginning of the year."

Those retroactive raises resulted in more than $200,000. But it wasn't just the salary increases Klitzkie criticized, but the lawmakers who voted against Guam Legislature that would repeal it. In February, Bill 4 introduced by Senator Michael San Nicolas would have rolled back the salary increases. Klitzkie said, "It's a confession where they are saying what we know what we did on the 21st of November was dead wrong, and it was so wrong that we don't want anyone to do this again."

The amendment repealing the salaries was instead deleted from the bill. What the bill, now public law, does instead is prevents the waiver of the public hearing requirement for bills proposing any salary changes to elected officials and would require that any change take effect after a general election to the Guam Legislature has intervened.

"I would much prefer to see conscious driven courageous senators come in and fix it themselves, but if that's not going to happen, then we would have to go through a popular democratic solution," he said sternly.

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