Guam – The Chair of the Legislature’s Labor Committee, Senator Adolpho Palacios, has denied a request from Guam Federation of Teachers President Matt Rector to hold an oversight hearing over what Rector says is the Department of Administration’s lack of action in upholding the law over various contract negotiations with GMH nurses, DPW bus drivers, Port Authority of Guam workers and GFD firefighters, all represented by the GFT.
Rector had sent a letter to Senator Palacios asking for the oversight hearing.
But Palacios told PNC News that these agreements are not for his office to referee. “I think that these issues are active issues that are best handled and can be attended to by the executive branch,” said Palacios adding “the remedy that his office is seeking actually can only be affected by the executive branch not by oversight.”
Palacios says he will however write letters to the agencies that Rector has pointed out in order to urge them to try and settle these disagreements with the GFT.
In response to Palacios decision not to hold an oversight hearing GFT President issued the following statement on the GFT website:
PALACIOS REFUSES TO HOLD OVERSIGHT HEARING
Senator Palacios sent a response to President Rector today refusing to hold an oversight hearing on DOA regarding the issues with GMH/DMH Allied Health Professionals, GMH Nurses, DPW Bus Drivers, Port Authority of Guam workers, and GFD Firefighters.
“While this office may have the discretion to call for an oversight hearing, the hearing would not provide the remedy that your office is seeking, with respect to the issues you’ve noted in your letter”, Palacios stated in his response.
We had hoped Palacios would do what other Committee Chairs do when the agency within their oversight isn’t doing their job, which is to hold an oversight hearing so that the Director of that Agency can publicly explain why they have refused to obey the law.
What is the point of having the critical check and balance oversight if Senators refuse to exercise their authority the people of Guam granted them with their votes? How can any citizen of Guam expect justice and fairness when even public employees can’t get our elected leaders to enforce the law and resolve these issues?
We will continue to encourage Senator Palacios and the Governor’s Office to obey and enforce the law. It’s not too much to ask.