Governor disputes claims that Palacios’ nomination to CQA is expired

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Guam – Eric Palacios’ appointment as the director for Customs and Quarantine may not be over. At least not according to the governor’s office.

Governor Calvo today showed up unannounced to News Talk K57’s Andrea Pellacani show to quote “tell the truth.” And the first issue he talked about is Palacios’ appointment to the Customs agency, disputing Committee Chair Sen. Telena Nelson’s assertions that Palacios’ appointment expired on July 29 as the 90 day deadline to confirm him had lapsed.

But not so fast, says the governor. Citing Guam law, Governor Calvo says the acting director’s term does not expire until September 7. The statute is Title 4 Chapter 2 section 2103.4 subsection n which reads, in part, “90 days shall mean ninety days from the date of initial acting appointment, without regard to weekends, holidays nor any lapses in the acting appointment of less than 30 days.”

“So Senator Nelson, you have more than enough time to get your committee to do their jobs and the legislature to do their jobs. They vote either Eric up, and fine, I’ve got this great guy, he’s doing a great job for Customs and Quarantine. But don’t hide behind the chairman. I’m asking all you senators in the committee in the legislature, you senators there that are going out to the people of Guam saying you’re for the people–then stand up for yourselves! Show why you’re for or against this guy. You vote and you know, if it fails, I, as governor of Guam, will accept that and I will give you a new nomination,” said Calvo.

In response a letter from Governor Calvo today declaring his position on Palacios’ appointment, Sen. Nelson issued a statement, saying, “After reviewing Governor Calvo’s recent correspondence and consulting with Legislative Counsel, the nomination in question has expired. However, I appreciate that two branches of the government interpret the same provision of law differently. As such, I have asked the Attorney General to opine on this and other matters related to Mr. Palacios and his acting capacity.”

Palacios’ nomination has been marred by controversy starting with allegations that he attempted to pull some strings when he was caught attempting to smuggle butterfly knives into Guam. He as flagged at the airport and the knives were eventually confiscated.

Another allegation raised during his confirmation hearing was about a sexual harassment claim dating back to 2011 while Palacios was at the Governor’s Office. Palacios says that issue has since been resolved and that “there was no sexual harassment.”