Bill introduced to establish elected Guam ethics commission

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Senator James Moylan (file photo)

Senator James C. Moylan has introduced legislation to establish an elected Guam
ethics commission.

Public Law 27-141 established the Guam Ethics Commission with the intent of creating an
administrative process to promote the highest standards of ethical conduct within the government of Guam.

After remaining dormant for years, in 2019, Governor Lou Leon Guerrero proceeded with enacting this decades-old mandate by appointing members to the Commission.

The intent of the Commission was to assure a balanced, and independent body existed, free from political bias. However, with the present language in P.L. 27-141 mandating that the members be appointed by a Governor, and confirmed by the Guam Legislature, Moylan said therein lies the potential of an entity with partisan interference.

“I commend Governor Leon Guerrero for enacting the Guam Ethics Commission, and there are many opportunities to strengthen the responsibilities and oversight of the Commission, however, we must first assure that we have an independent body in place. This legislation allows the voters of Guam, and not elected officials, to select who will sit within an entity entrusted with assuring that ethical standards are met in public service,” stated Senator Moylan. “The election process of this elected Commission would be very similar to that of the Consolidated Commission on Utilities.”

If enacted into law, voters would elect 7 members into the Guam Ethics Commission starting in November 2022. While the seats will eventually be for a four-year term, for the initial election, the top 4 vote-getters would attain four-year seats, and the next 3 would attain two-year seats, to allow an election of new faces every other year.

The legislation also mandates the establishment of a secure and anonymous reporting channel to allow members of the public to be able to submit any known ethical violations in the government. An effective process would be one where the confidentiality of the informant is held to the highest of standards.

“This is phase one in the process of bringing back the consumer confidence of island residents in their government. My team and I are still reviewing the responsibilities of the Commission, along with penalties across the board for violations such as official misconduct. Additional measures are forthcoming.”, stated Senator Moylan. “While we have so many great employees in the public sector, there are a few bad apples which impact the image of our government. It is time to be serious about addressing these issues and supporting those who work effortlessly in improving service for the community. I look forward to working with the Governor in providing the support for the Commission, and I am also optimistic that my colleagues in the legislature will agree that voters and not elected officials, should seat members of this non-political
Commission,” Moylan added.

(Senator James Moylan Release)

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