Guam – The Civil Service Commission [CSC] Thursday issued its written ruling on a decision they reached in January upholding the grievance filed by a group of Agana Heights teachers in a furlough payment case that dates back more than 10 years.
The written decision reviews the history of the case from 2003 when Guam DOE teachers were placed on mandatory furlough for 2 weeks at the start of the school year. They were not paid.
The Guam Federation of Teachers sought and won a ruling from the Civil Service Commission for teachers to be compensated for that un-planned and un-paid furlough. Guam DOE opposed the decision and took it to Court arguing that the CSC had exceeded its jurisdiction by ordering the retroactive pay, rather than following the required grievance steps.
The trial court however agreed with the CSC decision and upheld the furlough payment to the teachers. The case was appealed.
Guam DOE appealed, and finally, last year, the Guam Supreme Court over-turned the lower court. The high court ruled the Civil Service Commission only has jurisdiction over grievances.
Taking his cue from the High Court decision, Attorney Dan Somerfleck filed a grievance on behalf of his wife Carol and 11 other Agana Heights teachers, strictly following that grievance procedure step-by-step, leading to the CSC’s decision in their favor.
Somerfleck said that the decision applies only to the 12 teachers he represents and not to all the teachers who were effected by the 2003 furlough.
Although Guam DOE still has the option to appeal this latest decision, Somerfleck says he hopes they will decide instead to pay the teachers the two-week salary they are owed, plus interest. The total amount for all 12 teachers would be about 24-thousand dollars.