VIDEO: Former Senator Klitzkie Opposes Yamashita’s “Term-Limit” Bill

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Guam – He didn’t testify in person, but former Senator and legislative watchdog,  Bob Klitzkie submitted written testimony in opposition to Senator Yamashita’s term limit bill.

The measure would expand the legislative terms to 4-years from 2-years now. But it would also limit Senators to just 2-terms in office after which they’d have to sit out a term before running again.

READ Bill #2-32 HERE

Former Senator Bob Klitzkie argued in his written testimony that the current term of 2 years should be left as it is.

Klitzkie also called the 2-term limit just another version of  “legislative hop-scoth” because Senators who reach the term limit, or lose their re-election bid, will still end up getting hired by another Senator, he said.

READ Senator Klitzkie’s written testimony against Bill #2-32 below:

Testimony for Rory J. Respicio, Chairperson, Committee on Rules; Federal, Foreign & Micronesian Affairs, Human & Natural Resources, & Election Reform

The career ladder constructed by the “Government Party” would be greatly enhanced by the enactment of this bill.  Commencing November 4 next year senators would secure a four year term allowing them a much longer time to hold fundraisers, set up photo ops at resolution presentations, send letters to the media slightly disguised as inquiry to errant directors and other forms of grandstanding that make it easy for incumbents to get their faces before the public thereby greasing the skids for the second four year term.  The first year of that four year term provides a golden opportunity to “find” pay raises and reenact, yet again,  travel to exotic places (Moscow anyone?) on the public’s nickel and to, yet again, enact leave for senators. (Kudos to Senators ben pangelinan and Chris Dueñas for not cashing in their leave. (But, Bill 543-31 which abolished leave for senators did not contain a “saving clause.” Since there is no more leave for senators and no saving clause is a “lump sum leave settlement” due to anyone?) . .

The term limits provision of the bill mandates that senators sit out a third term but not to worry. We’ve seen the revolving door at the legislature where senators pair up and play hopscotch with each other jumping between senator and a job in each others office.  Doing away with the nasty requirement of having to face the voters every two years makes 2014 a banner year for the ultimate career objective of the Government Party—perpetual employment at the legislature for career politicians.

When it enacted PL 31-217 last year the legislature greatly enhanced the Government Party career ladder.  Now government employees can hold office in political parties.  Department directors can run for office without quitting their jobs.  So the career ladder now begins with the would be careerist’s election to a political party office—the better to influence his or her GovGuam co-employees.  Next rung on the career ladder is appointment as a director. As a director the careerist can continue to draw a salary while campaigning for senator.  Some time in the Youth Congress, especially as Speaker, is valuable OJT as is working in a senator’s office.  Both provide exposure to “how it’s done.”

As mentioned above the top rung on the career ladder is employment at the Legislature.  In addition to the pay there are also fringe benefits.  The package includes travel to exotic places on the public’s nickel (Manila anyone?), access to the revolving door described above, a fancy office, a large retinue of supplicants and health insurance.  The package even includes a state funeral.

But if a four year term is impermissible under the Organic Act, staggered terms could be considered with half the seats filled at each election.  You take a risk here as staggering terms would ensure at least seven new faces in 2015.  Some of the newbies might see  their four (or two) year term as an opportunity for public service, not public employment. For you the ugly specter of reasonable budgets, a part-time legislature and no more junkets arises.

Some of the newbies might be repelled by large staffs, fancy offices, found pay raises and leave cash outs and wonder just how far the Government Party will go to retain power.

Respectfully submitted,
Robert Klitzkie