OPA releases audit on GHURA unclassified employees’ pay raises and bonuses

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Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority (PNC file photo)

The Office of Public Accountability (OPA) has issued OPA Report No. 20-05, Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority (GHURA) Unclassified Employees’ Pay Raises and Bonuses.  OPA determined that the GHURA Board of Commissioners generally complied with the Open Government Law when they discussed and decided on unclassified employees’ salaries and bonuses between fiscal years 2015 through 2019. The audit did not find any bonuses given to unclassified employees in our review of executive and general session minutes as well as personnel action forms. However, we found that the Board of Commissioners did not retain minutes of its February 2015 executive session. We recommended the GHURA Board of Commissioners consistently adhere to the requirement of the Open Government Law to ensure the minutes of every meeting are fairly recorded and open to public inspection.

Further, we found two instances where the Board of Commissioners voted on matters related to ongoing litigation in its September 2018 and January 2019 executive sessions. Therefore, we recommended the GHURA Board of Commissioners ensure that voting on matters takes place during general sessions.

The Board of Commissioners did not consistently ratify the former Executive Director and former Deputy Director’s pay adjustments as a result of formal performance evaluations. As such, we recommended the GHURA Board of Commissioners consistently ratify all pay adjustments for GHURA unclassified employees on a going forward basis.

The current Executive Director and current Deputy Director were hired in January 2019. From January 2019 through December 2019, the current Executive Director and Deputy Director received two pay adjustments, respectively. In February 2019, the current Deputy Director received a pay adjustment to correct her salary to $100,930, which was ratified by the Board of Commissioners through Board Resolution No. FY2019-008. In October 2019, the current Executive Director received a pay adjustment to adjust his salary to $144,792 due to the restoration of FY 2019 salary increments to eligible employees. In December 2019, the current Executive Director and current Deputy Director received pay adjustments that increased their salaries to $153,479 and $106,985, respectively. These pay adjustments were effective July 2019 and ratified through Board Resolution No. FY2019-018.

We also found that the GHURA Board of Commissioners conducted performance reviews for the former Executive Director and current Executive Director in compliance with Title 5 of the Guam Code Annotated §43202.

In June 2005, the Board of Commissioners approved and implemented the Work Planning and Performance Evaluation System policy. However, the Executive Director and Deputy Director positions are not covered by the policy. Without written policies and procedures, there is a risk of operational inefficiency, inconsistency, and accountability in retaining the Executive Director and Deputy Director. Therefore, we recommended the GHURA Board of Commissioners develop policies and procedures to ensure consistency in the evaluation process of GHURA’s Executive Director and Deputy Director.

“The audit period is from October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2019. The actions and events of the last month are not covered by this audit. The audit team conducted its exit interview with GHURA on September 10, 2020, the day before the Board of Commissioners took its most recent action.”, remarked Public Auditor Benjamin Cruz.