Layoff notices going out this week
Guam - The Department of Administration is working with department and agency heads to begin issuing layoff notices to thousands of Government of Guam workers. The Calvo Administration contends with over $280 million in tax refunds owed and a deficit that is expected to reach $400 million by this October, the island's public sector continues to bury itself with challenges before it can finally dig itself out of its financial hole.
Following last week's announcement of a government wide reorganization, Governor Eddie Calvo announced today in his Weekly Address that within seven months of his administration and as part of his reorganization plan, layoffs of GovGuam employees will be implemented. On Saturday, the governor met with his cabinet to discuss several cost-cutting plans and announced sometime this week will begin the process of classified layoffs by sending written notices to all employees.
He said, "We want to make this as least painful as possible and I want to ensure to those workers that may be and will be displaced that we're going to make every effort to give them the necessary support they require to ensure that there are other opportunities that are made available to them."
He says the layoff general notice does not necessarily mean that you are being laid off, but a part of the process to each agency's reorganization plans. He adds that although agency heads will choose positions for layoffs, it comes down to the Department of Administration's Human Resource Division, which will decide who gets laid off based on seniority and performance evaluations. Calvo also mentioned in his address that the great part of his plan in retooling GovGuam includes investing into technologies to replace entry level work, energy savings in public schools, reducing benefits, performance reviews, merging of agencies, and outsourcing and public-private partnerships.
"We had some great ideas out there, it's going to entail some difficult decisions but in the end this will be ultimately in the best interest of the government and the best interests of the people of Guam," he said.
Governor Calvo anticipates all information to be provided to the Administration by Wednesday and will work toward final approval and if necessary make any modifications that will be made public within the next week or two. In regards to criticism about his plans to reorganization GovGuam and pending layoffs, Calvo says it is one he wishes not to do but must be done to resolve the public sector's financial crisis.
"But we've come to the point where at this $360 million deficit that is just weighing down this government it has the possibility. If we don't correct things now, for this government to become non viable and I just won't allow that," he said. "I wish there was a better and less painful way of doing it, and if there is we will find it."
Governor Calvo added that excluding the Department of Education, which has already passed its budget, all agencies that are in direct purview within GovGuam have been added to this reorganization plan including autonomous agencies. Ultimately, Calvo calls the situation bitter medicine that will hopefully result in a healthy government and a healthy community.