Governor shows no love for Bill 268
Guam - Governor Eddie Calvo shows no love for Bill 268. On Thursday he followed through with his word and officially vetoes the Democrats Hay pay raise plan.
"I have to place a veto on this bill and it shall be vetoed by our administration," he said.
It comes as no surprise, but Thursday Governor Eddie Calvo officially vetoed Bill 268. The measure was introduced by Senator Michael San Nicolas and was passed by the democratic majority earlier this month. "Really quite simple, number one with the passage of (Bill) 268, much like earlier laws that had been enacted by previous legislatures when it comes to empty promises, this would have been an empty promise," he said.
The veto follows weeks of debate between lawmakers and the administration. Following the governor's submittal of his Hay plan proposal nearly one month ago, Vice Speaker BJ Cruz held two public hearings with DOA director Benita Manglona wanting answers on how much the plan would cost broken down by agency. Manglona didn't provide the breakdown resulting in Bill 268. The governor's office called the bill an abomination adding it would be more expensive to implement. "And we would at sometime in summer probably in July where the funding would run out and all those pay increases would then have to be pulled back 0923 this is not fiscally prudent so that is one major area of concern," he said.
Bill 268 revised the governor's proposal namely eliminating raises for elected officials along with directors and deputy directors. It also lowered proposed increases for the mayors and vice mayors.
DOA delivered those calculations in 20 boxes of documents to Speaker Judi Won Pat's office this week but were refused and returned. Won pat says the boxes were delivered without the proper inventory of documents. "Now unfortunately the author of Bill 268, it appeared it was all political and the passage of this bill would cause so much inequities between those that are in the classified force, those that are unclassified and also aside from the complications with trying to compete with the private sector for top quality workers, it could have caused major issues between autonomous agencies and the general line agencies with the Government of Guam so with that respect we are also of the opinion that Bill 268 was an abomination and needed to be vetoed," he said.
So what happens now? Governor Calvo says his plan will instead move forward GovGuam employees can expect a valentine's gifts in their paychecks. "Tomorrow, our GovGuam employees will be receiving their pay increases based on the Hay plan that was submitted by the administration - again, I wish them all a Happy Valentines Day. It will be in their paychecks," he said.
Speaker Won Pat indicated Democrats were discussing the next options which included an override attempt and possible court action. "We're just hopeful that the legislature particularly the democratic majority will see fit that in our veto message this was just a bad bill and it cannot be enacted into law, but then aside from that, they will also not move forward in any type of mischief that will take paychecks from our hardworking GovGuam employees," she said.
Governor Calvo says pay raises will be paid by 8am. Line agency employees can pick up their additional payroll checks at the opening of business Friday from their agency head. Employees under the general pay plan should expect to receive 50% of their slated increase whereas employees under all the other pay plans will receive their rate at 100% of the plan. DOA is transmitting the funds to the Department of Education to cut their checks to their employees tomorrow as well.
The Guam Memorial Hospital employees should also receive supplemental checks tomorrow depending on whether GMH payroll officials are able to process the payments within the timeframe.
The governor and lieutenant governor meanwhile are rejecting their pay increases and have designated accounts for DOA to divert their pay increases to improve education and health.
Senators Frank Aguon, Jr. and Rory Respicio also led others in declining their pay raises.