Joanne Brown calls port settlement 'political payoffs' - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Joanne Brown calls port settlement 'political payoffs'

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Former Port Authority of Guam General Manager Joanne Brown is calling out her successor, saying Rory Respicio is planning to settle with a group of seven fired employees that the Port has been battling in court for the past six years.

Respicio denies Brown's charges that it's a political payoff to supporters of the new administration.

He said a task force led by deputy manager Connie Shinohara will review the cases to determine if it's worth continuing to fight.

"So when you look at these cases, right if you're paying for these legal fees you’ve got to do the risk analysis," Respicio said. "What are we paying for and what are we getting in exchange? And these employees, for example, they would win their case with the Civil Service Commission. The port would appeal so go to the Superior Court. Then there's further delay in that adjudicative process. Then the employee would win the Superior Court case and this agency would appeal to the Supreme Court. And so justice delayed is justice denied."

Brown fired back against Respicio's claims.

"The fact that he's put this as the very first item on his agenda. I think it's all a guise," she said. "He's intending to manipulate this process to try to do political payoffs. At the end of the day, it's going to be the port that's going to lose. It's going to be the men and women who go to work every day and do their job properly. I'm very concerned."

"I think it's highly improper, it's unethical, it stinks to high heaven," Brown said. "And again, it's just about paying off people who they think have supported them and hey we're going to pay you off. And I think that's totally absolutely wrong."

"This task force is going to take into account all of the ongoing employee cases here at the Port Authority and Miss Shinohara will have the authority to do whatever's necessary to gather up the documentation to make a thorough analysis and recommend what the course of action will be," Respicio said.

According to KUAM files, the employees were accused of conspiring to make illegal payments to former marketing manager Bernadette Meno for a work injury claim. They appealed their adverse actions to the CSC. Five of them prevailed, but still await the results of a court appeal by the Port.

Two other cases, including Meno's, have still not been heard by the commission.

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