Susuico wins Supreme Court case

Port Authority of Guam administration building. (PNC file photo)

The Supreme Court of Guam has issued an opinion in the case of Port Authority of Guam v. Civil Service Commission (Susuico), ruling against the Port Authority of Guam, which appealed a final judgment affirming a Civil Service Commission decision and judgment favoring port employee Kevin J.T. Susuico.

The CSC decision found that the Port violated the 60-day rule of 4 GCA § 4406 and had ruled that Susuico be reinstated and awarded back pay, along with interest and attorney’s fees.

In an opinion authored by Chief Justice Katherine A. Maraman and joined by Justice F. Philip Carbullido and Justice Pro Tempore Maria G. Fitzpatrick, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Superior Court affirming the CSC’s decision.

The court noted that the Legislature had recently amended 4 GCA § 4406 from a 60-day period of time to a 90-day period of time in which management must provide notice of a proposed or final adverse action.

However, the court found that the 60-day rule remained applicable to the Susuico case because the Legislature did not amend the rule until after the facts of the case occurred.

The court ruled that the CSC had substantial evidence in the record to support the conclusion that the Port violated the 60-day rule.

The court also noted that Port management knew or should have known that Susuico lacked the requisite educational qualifications for the Accountant II position no later than October 16, 2012, when a post-audit hearing was held and the Port did not contest the CSC’s factual findings that Susuico’s resume and employment application did not meet the requisite experience and qualifications for the Accountant II position.

Furthermore, the court noted that the Port did not issue a Notification of Personnel Action to Susuico terminating his employment until January 17, 2013, well after the 60-day window for such notification closed.