Guam – Senator Rory Respicio believes that former Senator Robert Klitzkie is “confused” about which law defines the salary levels of Guam’s Senators.
Former Senator Klitzkie believes that P.L. 21-59 is the defining statute which sets Senatorial salaries at $55,303 annually.
Senator Respicio asserts that P.L. 27-05, setting salaries at half the level of a Superior Court Judge [$60,850] is the prevailing law.
Senator Respicio was responding to an assertion from Klitzkie that Respicio approved a salary increase for Guam’s Senators last November “contrary to the law.“
In an email to Senator Rory Respicio [and copied to the media], former Senator Klitzkie accuses Respicio of increasing Senatorial salaries from $55,303 to $60,850 by sliding it “”under the radar” until it was discovered in February.”
Klitzkie says Respicio based his decision on an incorrect opinion from the legislative counsel which, Klitizkie argues, relies on a law that was repealed “by implication” with the enactment of Public Law 21-59.
“$55,303 is the correct and legal salary” for all Senators, states Klitzkie, which he says was set by the Civil Service Commission in 1991. “Paying a higher salary is illegal,” Klitzkie states.
But in response, Senator Respico counters that on February 28, 2003, Governor Felix Camacho signed Public Law 27-05 which set compensation of Senator at 50% of the annual salary of a judge of the Superior Court of Guam. “This language has not changed,” states Senator Respicio.
“The Salary of Senators remains based on P.L. 27-5,” states Respicio concluding that “If Senator Klitzkie wishes to challenge this law, he is well within his rights to do so.”
Read Senator Respicio’s release in FULL below:
FORMER SENATOR CONFUSED ABOUT PAY ISSUE
Former Senator Robert Klitzkie has been stating his opinion that a revision made to correct an error in senatorial pay was an illegal and improper act, and that the current law concerning salaries of Senators is not correct. This is simply Senator Klitzkie’s opinion, and I don’t agree.
On February 28, 2003, Governor Felix Camacho signed into law Public Law 27-05 which set the compensation of Senators to be “50% of the annual salary of a judge of the Superior Court; the compensation of the Speaker of I Liheslaturan Guåhan shall be … at the rate per annum of fifty percent (50%) of the annual salary of the presiding judge of the Superior Court.”
This language has not been changed since P.L. 27-05.
The same section of P.L. 27-05, and the sections that followed, temporarily reduced Senators’ salaries, and permitted the temporary reduction of the
salaries of the Governor, Lt. Governor, Mayors, Vice Mayors, Attorney General and Public Auditor. The salaries of all elected officials were to be
returned to the previous rates after a period of time, but only the Senators reduced their salaries, so only the salaries of Senators had to be returned to
The salary of Senators today is still based on P.L. 27-05, and this language can currently be found on-line in Title 2 Guam Code Annotated at the Compiler of Laws website.
Read Klitzkie’s email to Senator Respicio [copied to the media] in FULL below:
As per my April 25 email, you have caused a legislative salary increase that is contrary to law. The salary increase is based on Legislative Counsel’s memo to you which relies on the applicability of 2 GCA § 1106 that was added by PL 19-34 §36 (1988) and was repealed by implication by PL 21-42 Part 8, Ch V §13 (o) (1991). PL 21-59 enacted 12 days later gave the Civil Service Commission (CSC) the authority to set senatorial salaries.
The CSC set the salary for all senators at $55,303 on October 3, 1991 (Ex. A) where it remained until March 3, 2003 when PL 27-005:IV §8 temporarily lowered the salary to $40,000 until September 30. The reduction was accomplished by reference to judicial salaries by 2 GCA §1106(a), which although repealed by implication, remained “in the book” and served only as framework for the salary reduction provided by subsection (b).
From October 1, 2003 until you raised senatorial salaries last November, a senator’s salary was the CSC-established $55,303, the pay rate used by every legislature from the 21st through the 30th. Interestingly enough, you raised the salaries in last November but slid the increase “under the radar” until it was discovered in February.
On April 25 I explained in some detail that $55,303 is the correct and legal salary for all senators because the CSC set that salary in 1991. Paying a higher salary is illegal.
Two follow-up emails ensued after April 25. The May 4 email stated that given the gravity of the matter and the amount of money involved, “It is reasonable to expect that you, as Chairman of Rules would take steps to correct the illegal expenditure of funds and recover such funds as are due.”
Your lack of response suggests two conclusions:
1 You don’t disagree with my analysis.
2 You don’t care.
Given the revelations of the current budget hearings, our government is in dire financial straits. At a time when government employees are concerned about continuing employment, having already lost their “Hay raises,” the nine percent salary increase you provided yourself and others pursuant to an analysis you won’t defend, is in addition to reliance on a non existent legal loophole, bad policy.
Apparently, in the final analysis it’s not the principle that counts, it’s the money.