by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Speaker Judi Won Pat says she is planning to call senators into session this Friday to discuss Bill 436. Governor Eddie Calvo talked about the bill and all the controversy surrounding raises for elected leaders and members of his cabinet.

During the public hearing on Bill 436 Andri Baynum with the Guamanians for Fair Government movement, spoke on behalf of the 1,500 people who signed a petition to repeal the recent hay pay raises for senators.

He testified how the Guam Legislature was the second highest paid legislature in the country. He also noted that the governor's salary was more than 21 other governors in the United States. He asked elected leaders "what makes you so special?"

Calvo responded, "I'm not so special - what made it special is was when they took our pieces of original pay plan that had been submitted to the legislature that is when differentiation occurred."

The governor says the pay raises for government employees were a result of a study conducted by the Hay Group.  It's an evaluation of compensation for elected leaders, classified and unclassified employees of the government that hadn't been done in two decades.

Calvo says he has been consistent in his position for the Hay pay raises but it was the Legislature who made the changes. Governor Calvo questioned their motives adding it would appear the administration was targeted when the legislature did not provide raises to certain members of the Executive Branch. "What made them decide that only certain type of positions elected such as a mayor would have a certain pay and separate other positions. What makes a position of director of DOA who oversees $600 million any less important than a controller that oversees a budget under $20 million at the Judiciary that whose responsibilities over monies is not even close to those responsibilities be that even when it comes to financial officer of the Department of Education what made them separate these responsibilities."

While the governor did not say what action he will take if the bill is passed, he is urging lawmakers to respect the Executive Branch of government. "I hope they understand too there is their house and our house though I may disagree with any changes in the Hay plan I also respect their house and their branch of government and they respect ours.  

Bill 436 introduced by Senator Frank Aguon, Jr, would only repeal raises for senators, but during testimony on the bill Monday, it was recommended that raises for the governor and lieutenant governor also be repealed.  Even if senators vote on Bill 436 Friday - that gives the governor about two days to decide what action to take on the bill.

Governor Calvo submitted the following testimony.