The Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency told the legislature that it needs more money to recruit officers.
During its budget hearing before the legislature, Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency director Ike Peredo said they need more funding to hire more personnel.
He told senators that GCQA’s revenue sources greatly decreased compared to last year, with the agency losing $11 million since the start of the pandemic.
One of the issues is the fact that there wasn’t enough CARES Act money available for differential pay.
Differential pay is additional pay that’s given to employees who work on certain assignments.
Senator Telena Cruz Nelson said the issue is not whether CQA had general fund money or revenue money.
“The issue was getting the proper documentation to the necessary agencies to pay them out. Because this is the CARES Act money. And so when you process their payroll, you would put in their timesheets with it,” Nelson said.
Also, Customs is seeking a new funding source for promotions and recruiting new officers.
Customs aims to recruit 30 officers.
Over the next five years, the agency plans to recruit 220 officers.
The legislature told Customs that they needed to find money within the agency.
The legislature also told the agency to send a memorandum that tells them how much money Customs needs for personnel.
“I’m asking because if we need to incorporate additional money for your FY2022…to give you the money to your recruits..that would be helpful. That’s why I’m asking these questions because I don’t see a plan or request for money….but you gave us a count of the deficits that you need. I understand that there’s a shortage, but if you don’t inform the committee how to fill the shortage, then it’s hard to help you,” Nelson said.