Vice Speaker Cruz: Law Enforcement Raises Should Take Priority

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Guam – “The government pays one contract without regard to the availability of certified funds and denies a payment statutorily mandated.” That is what Vice Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz told outgoing Administration officials about the difference between paying for government’s group health insurance program and paying for the pay increases for uniformed personnel in a letter this morning.

In the letter to both Bureau of Budget Management and Research Director Bertha Duenas and Department of Administration Director Lourdes Perez, Cruz asked the two officials why they would tell the Superior Court the government of Guam is in a dire financial position and therefore cannot pay the salary increases for law enforcement personnel provided under Public Law 29-105 but at the same time allow the government to obligate itself to the FY 2011 group health insurance program without certification for the availability of funds. Cruz also warned the Court may have to order the government to pay all uniformed personnel since some are being paid the increase regardless of the claimed financial condition of the government.

The Letter (Dated December 16):

Dear Ms. Duenas and Ms. Perez:

In early October, I asked both of you and the Attorney General to look into the whether it was appropriate for this Government to enter into an agreement for the government of Guam FY 2011 group health insurance program without certification for the availability of funds. I have yet to receive an answer from any of you.

I read the declarations you submitted in Superior Court for the civil case seeking a writ of mandate to enforce the provisions of Public Law 29-105. This case relates to increased compensation for certain law enforcement personnel. In the declarations, both of you present a myriad of reasons to note the dire financial state of the government of Guam – the basis of which is now being argued against the implementation of the pay increase
for law enforcement personnel.

What puzzles me is if our situation is dire, why was the Administration advised to proceed with government of Guam FY 2011 group health insurance agreement? On one hand, the administration commits to obligating the government to enter into a contract without certifying funding availability, on the other the administration says it will not follow the law and pay for pay increases for uniformed personnel because there is no
money. Such decisions should be based on law, not opinions.

I fear you may have unwittingly placed the Government in another EITC quandary. The government pays one contract without regard as to whether there are certified funds available and denies a payment statutorily mandated. The Court may have to order the government to pay all uniformed personnel since some are being paid the increase regardless of the claimed financial condition of the general government.

Sincerely,

Benjamin J.F Cruz