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CCU rescinds controversial pay raises

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The Consolidated Commission on Utilities is holding a special meeting at this hour to hear a legal brief on its controversial pay hikes for top Guam Power Authority and Guam Waterworks Authority management.

Independent counsel was brought in to review the issue and recommend a response to the Attorney General's opinion. AG Leevin Camacho said approving the raises during a closed-door executive session in November was illegal because it violated the open government law.

Outside counsel Vincent Leon Guerrero advised that while the Commission may discuss evaluations in executive session, he agrees with the AG that it may not discuss salaries. Because of that he also agrees that the raises should be voided and the money should be repaid. Leon Guerrero also found that bonus payments to unclassified employees such as the one to GPA General Manager John Benavente, are also prohibited. Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of 1,000 outspoken critics, Ken Leon-Guerrero urged the CCU not to approve what he called unjustified pay raises.

The bonuses and raises had ranged from $10,000 to $25,000. The CCU voted to rescind the pay raises and bonuses for the General Managers, Legal counsels, GPA Asst. GM for operations and the Board secretary. The Commission did not discuss whether it will reconsider the raises at a later time.

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