Judge Rules in Favor of GFT, DOE Ordered to Pay Teachers Furlough


Judge Michael Bordallo dismissed DOE’s request to for a judicial review of the Civil Service Commission’s ruling.

Guam – The Guam Department of Education will have to pay 12 teachers furlough pay plus interest after the Superior Court of Guam dismissed DOE’s complaint.

Judge Michael Bordallo ruled in favor of the Civil Service Commission and Carol Somerfleck, who pursued the grievance against DOE.

The case dates back to 2003, when the start of the school year was delayed for two weeks. Teachers were not paid during those two weeks, so the Guam Federation of Teachers filed suit seeking back wages for those two weeks.

The case dragged on for 10 years and eventually the Supreme Court ruled that the Superior Court was not the proper way to bring a case. Instead, the Supreme Court ruled, a grievance should have been filed.

The 12 teachers from Agana Heights filed those grievances through the CSC, which in March of 2014, ruled in the teachers’ favor and ordered DOE to pay those teachers’ back wages plus 10 percent interest per year.

But DOE fought that ruling in Superior Court. In his decision yesterday, Judge Bordallo noted that since DOE filed the case in 2014, it sat on the docket for 22 months with no action.

Bordallo says that under Guam law, a judge has the ability to dismiss a case for failure to prosecute, especially if no reasonable explanation is provided.

In this case, DOE’s explanation for sitting on the matter was “oversight.”