Guam – The Guam Police Department is still proceeding with plans to furlough across the board and reduce their workweek to 32 hours in June. Chief of Police J.I. Cruz told lawmakers that until he is directed to do otherwise he will proceed with plans to cut $3.8 million dollars from his budget. Lawmakers were concerned that this could negatively impact public safety.
“Furloughs for all personnel will begin no sooner than June 29, 2018 and will continue through September 29, 2018 for a total of 13 weeks. Included in the total budget cut of $3.8 million dollars for FY2018. The furlough will reduce wages for all 366 employees by $1,190,212 during the last quarter of FY2018,” said Chief Cruz.
Four LTA’s will also be terminated. Guam Police Department Chief J.I. Cruz told senators during an informational briefing that he is following executive order 2018-04 and some memos from BBMR that instructed his agency to make cuts and begin the furlough process. Cruz said until he receives guidance from the administration telling him to stop the furlough process he will move forward with implementing furloughs across the board.
“Are you gonna go and strip the civilian force first that you have in the department and then if that’s still not enough your gonna start furloughing the men and women in uniform?” asked Senator Tom Ada.
“Based on the guidance that I got, to answer your question up front and directly senator, no that is not our plan. Our plan is an across the board application to be effective no earlier than June 29, 2018. So, it’s not a phased operation to remove civilians first and police officers based on the guidance that I received,” said Chief Cruz.
This means 66 civilian employees and 300 uniformed officers will all have their workweeks reduced to 32 hours by June 29. Senator Ada voiced his concern with this.
“My opinion is that GPD is tasked with a responsibility of maintaining the safety and security in our community. You let somebody else worry about how they are gonna backfill a $67 million dollars shortfall,” said Ada adding, “You mentioned about I guess between that and furloughs we’re looking at increasing response time from 15 minutes to 30 minutes and that doesn’t give me any comfort at all and somehow it comes across rather non-chalant that you know a response time that is twice what it normally is just doesn’t seem comforting.”
Senator Telena Nelson also questioned the reasoning behind the closure of the Agana precinct when it is a precinct that serves several central villages. Chief Cruz said it is a decision that was necessary because of GovGuam’s fiscal condition and it was a decision that was made with input from his command staff.