Guam - It was last week when the Port Authority of Guam hired Maria D.R. Taitano as its new controller. During this afternoon's board meeting, members moved to ratify Taitano's position as the assistant general manager of administration and finance with the collateral duty of comptroller.

The board noted that under the Port's enabling legislation, it is permitted to hire as many assistant managers to assist the general manager and the management team. Ultimately, the board noted, Taitano was brought on board to help balance the load put on the Port's financial team. "And there's very much a need for that...because with the current vacancies we have at the port that we are not able to fill until certain issues with Civil Service are resolved. It's put a tremendous burden on existing financial staff that we've been had to depend on,"  said GM Joanne Brown.

Taitano attended today's board meeting and told the board that this was her first government job having served 26 years in the private sector. "But overall it's just taking what I've done in the private sector with a bit a finagling here and there and trying to understand and make sure and ask the question first if its proper to do, can I do this but I'm excited," she said.

Today's action by the board was despite a notice of violation that was filed with the Civil Service Commission by Attorney Jeff Moots who represents former Port controller Jojo Guevara. Moots says Guam law is clear that management may not fill an employee's position until an appeal is exhausted.

Guevara previously held the financial services controller position at the port but was fired late last year for his alleged involvement in a conspiracy to defraud the government and cover it up. Guevara has appealed his termination to the Civil Service Commission.

The board also discussed matters dealing with its workers compensation insurance. Brown noted she would like to move further but in a financially responsible manner as what's been proposed to the board has cost the port several time overs to insure its employees. The board ultimately voted to cancel its workers compensation bid and instead issue out a new bid and discuss the possibility of an emergency certification of a RFP.