Is it time to bust out the scissors and make cuts at the Legisla - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Is it time to bust out the scissors and make cuts at the Legislature?

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With agencies government-wide already instituting cost-cutting measures, it looks like the Legislature hasn’t gotten the memo - in fact, senators have given out $50,000 in raises this fiscal year.  Crunching the numbers, the senators have handed out taxpayer dollars to the tune of $100,000 in raises to 16 staffers in this legislative term...so far.

Both central operations staff and senatorial staff hiring has increased since FY 2017 – and with the Legislature’s own Office of Finance and Budget sounding the bells of doom about the devastating effects of the Trump Tax Cuts for months – it appears it has been in one ear out the other with senators.

GOVGUAM STAFFING PATTERN

LEGISLATURE STAFFING PATTERN

And ironically, the Office of Finance and Budget takes up the second biggest chunk of the Legislature’s budget – the five person staff making an average total compensation of $80,000 a year.

Biggest Budget$

Central Operations
34 staff $1,566,656
avg compensation $46,078

Office and Finance and Budget
5 staff $399,028
avg compensation $79,805

Sen. Michael San Nicolas
9 staff $352,645
avg compensation $39,182

Speaker BJ Cruz
7 staff $330,368
avg compensation $47,195

Sen Frank Aguon
13 staff $313,791
avg compensation $24,137

Legislature's Big Baller$

Salary + Benefits
Rick Hernandez OFB Director: $114,989
Agnes Cruz Chief Fiscal Officer: $99,195
Rikki Orsini (Sen. Esteves): $88,779
Joe Borja (Sen. Ada): $87,506
Jason Tedtaotao (Sen Morrison): $87,427
James Servino (Sen. Lee): $86,082

And the lion’s share of that $400K budget for OFB goes to 32-year old accountant Ricky Hernandez. Hernandez raking it in as the Legislature’s biggest baller with a yearly compensation package of $115,000 to taxpayers.

Hernandez is a certified government financial manager leading the OFB – and with a budget of nearly half a million dollars, the OFB still found $20,000 to hire an additional accountant for three months of work in FY 2017.

With senators getting their pay brought back down to earthly levels, a vast majority of their staffers make more money than them. Senator Lousie Muna’s special assistant Ed Lee pulls down nearly $80,000 in compensation and Senator Michael San Nicolas’ chief of staff makes a $65K yearly in salary for the congressional candidate.

So while the legislature is talking the talk – they haven’t walked the walk by instituting any cost-savings measures. With questionable contracts, travel and rent payments – the salaries at the legislature are just the tip of the iceberg.

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