Guam – Former BBMR Director Bertha Duenas has returned the bonus she received under the controversial Special Achievement Awards Program.
In an email to PNC News Friday, Duenas stated that she has “issued a check for $3,112 to the Treasurer of Guam as reimbursement for the Special Achievement Award.”
Duenas was one of 3 Agency Directors, along with the elected Public Auditor, who received the questioned bonuses under the previous administration.
The other Directors are former Rev & Tax Director Art Ilagan and former DOA Administrator Lourdes Perez, both of whom also received $3,112 dollar bonuses. Public Auditor Doris Flores-Broooks received a $3,500 dollar bonus. No word yet on whether they too will return those awards.
Former Acting Attorney General John Weisenberger concluded last week that the bonuses were improper and that the Special Achievement Awards Program was not authorized by Guam’s current compensation laws. He also concluded that the Department of Administration “must” take steps to get the money back.
In addition, Weisenberger questioned the more than $400-thousand dollars in bonuses paid out to classified employees at various agencies saying that money too should be returned, if the employee would not have otherwise qualified under approved GovGuam compensation laws.
In her email, Duenas writes: “I am a law abiding citizen and very concerned about the cloud this casts on my credibility and integrity. But I was truly guided then by the procedures provided by DOA on the “Special Achievement Award” Program. DOA created the program and both DOA and RevTax had already been recipients before I applied for BBMR. The program also required final approval by both the Governor and DOA, so there were layers of approval beyond my level as a mere applicant.”
Duenas added: “I’m indeed saddened that we were misguided and for the crushed morale this has dealt upon the hardworking “classified” employees of these 4 agencies! I’ve been receiving feedback from them and it has brought tears to my eyes. They don’t deserve the anguish they’re going through right now!”