Senators pass legislation for raises & retro-pay
Friday, November 21st 2014, 3:51 PM ChST
Guam - Raises and retroactive pay, that's what was included in Bill 1 (8-s) and passed by a majority of your senators this morning.
Acting Governor Ray Tenorio called the legislature into a special session Friday to address the legislation which would implement the Competitive Wage Act for the salaries of cabinet members and elected leaders such as the governor, lt. Governor, senators and the attorney general. These positions, you may remember were excluded when hay pay raises were approved back in January.
Tenorio said, "It also doesn't make sense in a lot of respects to have other people who are responsible for managing contracts, of multi-million dollars insuring federal dollars are being used to the optimum and used for the people of Guam and managing people who get disproportionate salary higher than you to be paid les ultimately it comes down to retaining talent and we've got a lot of talented people in our government and largely most of them got that hay implementation."
During special session Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz got the answers he was looking for primarily focusing on whether the government can afford to pay the raises and retroactive pay. The legislation not only provides the raises to elected leaders and cabinet members but makes them retro to January 15, 2014. According to the bill, the funding will come from appropriations in the Fiscal Year 15 budget. Cruz said, "Are there sufficient funds within the budget to be able to sustain these increases not only to pay today but to carry us through the end of the fiscal year?" Tony Blaz responded, "We're very confident vice speaker we're very confident we'll work within our resources and we have our due diligence at BBMR we're going to do our part."
Although Senator Michael Limtiaco said it was undeniable the government's finances are in better shape, he had proferred an amendment to strike the raises for elected leaders but it failed. "It goes back to the notion that what we do in this body what our elected officials do is for the greater good of our island it a public service not a job not a career path," he said.
"And the reward is not necessarily in the salaries but the reward is to know that you've contributed to the progress of our island."
The vote on Bill 1 (8-s) was 10-yes, Senator Limtiaco was the only one present to vote no, while there were three excused absences, those being Senators Tom Ada, Dennis Rodriguez Jr., and Michael San Nicolas.
Here's the breakdown of salary increases:
$90,000 - $130,000
$85,000 - $110,000
$65,000 - $85,000
$109,498 - $128,685
$100,000 - $110,000