Next Thursday’s Chamorro Land Trust Commission board meeting will be presided over by acting chairman Austin Duenas. Duenas assumed the acting chair role because both CLTC board chair Pika Fejeran and vice chair Joseph Cruz are off-island.

“I should be acting chair for about a month,” Duenas said.

Duenas – one of two new CLTC board members – was confirmed by the Legislature in late April and his first meeting as a board member came a few days later at the onset of the recent CLTC controversies.

He assumes the acting chair role in just his third meeting as a CLTC board member.

Duenas is currently the administrator of the Guam State Clearinghouse – which is overseen by Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio. Duenas is also a former executive assistant for Tenorio and he has served the administration as a grant specialist, policy analyst and he was also a staffer under former Senator and current Department of Labor director Sam Mabini.

Duenas currently makes $61,875 a year in salary, according to a GovGuam staffing pattern. He graduated from the University of Guam Magna Cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy. Duenas said he has no experience with land issues.

Although he doesn’t have experience in land issues and is a newcomer to the CLTC, Duenas is assuming the acting chair role at a critical juncture for the CLTC – a legal opinion from the Attorney General and controversy surrounding leases awarded at the CLTC’s property in Barrigada Heights have made the CLTC the center of attention for the media, elected officials and CLTC stakeholders.

“I’m in contact with both the chair and vice chair,” Duenas said.

Duenas will meet with Land Management director Michael Borja and Governor’s Special Assistant Vince Leon Guerrero tomorrow to discuss preparations for the June 21 board meeting and the status of reviews ordered by Fejeran.

Duenas’ private sector experience is as a store manager for Louis Vitton in Saipan.