A.G. Barrett-Anderson says bonus for employee was justified

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Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson is responding to Speaker B.J. Cruz’s accusations that she purposely mislead him.

Guam – The Attorney General says that she was not trying to mislead Speaker Cruz when he asked her about giving an employee a bonus that the Speaker says is illegal.

“I did back away. I think I should’ve said, ‘Senator, I think this is a personnel matter that’s under review right now,’” said the AG

Speaker Cruz was critical of the AG for issuing an opinion on a public law allowing her to give a bonus to an accountant she hired. The public law does not explicitly extend this type of bonus to employees in the AG’s office; however, the Barrett-Anderson believes that it would have been wrong not to give this employee the bonus.

“We are within the executive branch and we follow all of the line agency requirements and criteria and if there’s a benefit that goes to one classified employee in the government it goes to everybody,” said Barrett-Anderson adding, “but you look at that statute and it says if you are a government accountant and you get a certification in these various fields you get an incentive pay. If we just said well you can go to the [Office of Public Accountability] and get it but if you come to the AG’s office, you can’t get it. That’s discriminatory. That’s probably a fair labor standard violation and it certainly violates equal protection.”

Speaker Cruz also wrote in his letter that the AG was being too much of a politician.

“I am a politician. I mean, I was elected. I am a politician but I am an Attorney General and my job as Attorney General is … I think the voters of Guam put me in this office to do my best job and not to constantly fight and fight and fight,” said the A.G. adding, “I’m not quite sure that being political is such a bad word. If you’re political and you use it not in the interest of the public then that’s bad.”

The Speaker was also critical of the AG for being silent when the child support fund was raided.

“No, I wasn’t silent. I didn’t go to the media to talk about it but I immediately went to the director of DOA and said you can’t do this. You can’t touch this pay. Put it back and she immediately agreed with me and it took them 36 hours to put it back. DOA should never have touched it,” said Barrett-Anderson.

As for the Speaker’s criticism that she didn’t hire a special prosecutor in time to handle the illegal Adelup bonuses, the AG says that she recused herself from that issue and left it to the chief prosecutor to handle. It’s her understanding that there was a procurement issue that prevented the hiring of the special prosecutor.