Guam – Former Senator Bob Klitzkie believes that a salary increase recently given to Guam’s Senators is “contrary to the law.“
In an email to Senator Rory Respicio, the former Senator argues that the salary increase is based on a memo from Legislative Counsel which relies on a law that was repealed “by implication” with the enactment of Public Law 21-59. P.L. 21-59 gave the Civil Service Commission the authority to set senatorial salaries.
Klitzkie accuses Respicio of increasing Senatorial salaries from $55,303 to $60,850 by sliding it “‘under the radar’ until it was discovered in February.”
The former Senator argues that “$55,303 is the correct and legal salary” for all Senators which was set by the Civil Service Commission in 1991. “Paying a higher salary is illegal,” Klitzkie states.
“Given the revelations of the current budget hearings, our government is in dire financial straits.” writes Klitzkie and “the nine percent salary increase you provided yourself and others pursuant to an analysis you won’t defend, is in addition to reliance on a non existent legal loophole, bad policy.”
Read Klitzkie’s email to Senator Respicio in FULL below:
As per my April 25 email, you have caused a legislative salary increase that is contrary to law. The salary increase is based on Legislative Counsel’s memo to you which relies on the applicability of 2 GCA § 1106 that was added by PL 19-34 §36 (1988) and was repealed by implication by PL 21-42 Part 8, Ch V §13 (o) (1991). PL 21-59 enacted 12 days later gave the Civil Service Commission (CSC) the authority to set senatorial salaries.
The CSC set the salary for all senators at $55,303 on October 3, 1991 (Ex. A) where it remained until March 3, 2003 when PL 27-005:IV §8 temporarily lowered the salary to $40,000 until September 30. The reduction was accomplished by reference to judicial salaries by 2 GCA §1106(a), which although repealed by implication, remained “in the book” and served only as framework for the salary reduction provided by subsection (b).
From October 1, 2003 until you raised senatorial salaries last November, a senator’s salary was the CSC-established $55,303, the pay rate used by every legislature from the 21st through the 30th. Interestingly enough, you raised the salaries in last November but slid the increase “under the radar” until it was discovered in February.
On April 25 I explained in some detail that $55,303 is the correct and legal salary for all senators because the CSC set that salary in 1991. Paying a higher salary is illegal.
Two follow-up emails ensued after April 25. The May 4 email stated that given the gravity of the matter and the amount of money involved, “It is reasonable to expect that you, as Chairman of Rules would take steps to correct the illegal expenditure of funds and recover such funds as are due.”
Your lack of response suggests two conclusions:
1 You don’t disagree with my analysis.
2 You don’t care.
Given the revelations of the current budget hearings, our government is in dire financial straits. At a time when government employees are concerned about continuing employment, having already lost their “Hay raises,” the nine percent salary increase you provided yourself and others pursuant to an analysis you won’t defend, is in addition to reliance on a non existent legal loophole, bad policy.
Apparently, in the final analysis it’s not the principle that counts, it’s the money.