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Administration talks officer retention with Customs

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A visit to the men and women at the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency led to a discussion on the need to provide better incentives to retain officers. A reevaluation of the jobs at the agency is what the new administration just might have to consider if they want to beef up the personnel at the very department that protects our borders.

The need to promote is clear, Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio said.
"We believe when workforce has high morale the productivity is high," he said.

Leaders with Guam Customs shared with Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and Tenorio today about the need to boost morale at the agency and retain its officers. Col.Phil Taijeron suggesting incentives.

"The approach that I had proffered is that we use certification pay," he said. "When we have individuals assigned to the special enforcement division task force they are paid the same rate or salary as their peers and they are performing work way above their grade or their position in the agency."

Vince Perez, chief of Guam Customs also chimed in.

"I hate to say it, but we really don't have much to offer as far as salaries are concerned because they are fixed," he said.  He made some suggestions, as well.

"Many of our officers who are dedicated feel like I can make more money doing the same kind of job working in the federal government," Perez said. "We enforce many federal laws so perhaps maybe thinking out of the box is taking the custom officer and creating a converted pay schedule to follow the GS schedule, the benefits they have and delink from the Government of Guam's current pay schedule."

Leon Guerrero agreed a reevaluation of the duties may be the solution.

"I think the trick here is how do you do the compensation so everybody feels like they are being paid the value of what they are worth," she said.

It's a need to show the officers their worth to avoid a spike in the attrition rate at Guam Customs.

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