DOC director says he would rather work at another law enforcement agency

DOC director Joe Carbullido testifies during his department's budget hearing at the Legislature. (PNC photo)

It was the Department of Corrections’ turn to present its budget before the Legislature.

DOC director Joe Carbullido, Major Antone Aguon, and Administrative Services Officer Clarice Briggs spoke before the legislature Monday morning.

The department has about 55 vacancies and Carbullido said that it’s a challenge to fill them.

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“Of course, the pay issue, right? It’s one of the main factors. And I think Senator Moylan has brought about…tried to address that. But in addition to the pay, if you really look at the work..the job itself…compared to other law enforcement agencies…I’ve walked down the tunnel of these line positions here. These units that they man. It’s a very difficult job to do,” Carbullido said.

Carbullido said that even for a veteran law enforcement professional like himself, the challenges faced by DOC officers are daunting.

“Compared to other law enforcement agencies — even if you give them the same pay and you standardize the pay for all law enforcement — I’d rather go to another law enforcement agency and work there than to stand at DOC and work the kind of job that these guys do. Personally, I wouldn’t want to do it. And I’m a 30-year GPD career officer. But looking and experiencing what these officers go through on a daily basis standing this job, it’s a difficult job to do,” Carbullido said.

Carbullido said that the department is requesting about $25 million for its Fiscal 2022 budget.

That’s more than $2.6 million less than last year’s budget.

Among its budget items, DOC is requesting more than $2.7 million dollars for the director’s office.

DOC is also asking more than $15 million for both the Hagatna Detention Facility and the Adult Correctional Facility and more than $215,000 for the casework and counseling services division.

In addition, the department is asking more than $263,000 for the Forensic Mental Health Clinic and more than $940,000 for the Parole Services Division.

One of the items that Director Carbullido was questioned on is the use of CARES Act funds.

Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes asked: “Based on a report by the governor regarding the CARES Act funds, the Department of Corrections was approved funding of $2.2 million to include food contract services. Was the entire amount received and expended? What else was the funding used for?”

Carbullido answered: “Yes, madame speaker, the entire amount of 2.2 was expended.”

“So it was received and expended for the food contract services?” Barnes asked.

Carbullido answered: “No, it’s not all for food service contracts. The CARES Act funding also covered personnel costs throughout the pandemic. Mainly overtime.”

DOC is asking the Legislature for more than $878,000 to fund overtime.