Torres bill to fund nurse wage study passes unanimously

Senator Mary Camacho Torres (Guam Legislature photo)

Guam is one step closer to updating its nurse compensation rates with the unanimous passage of Bill No. 415-35.

Introduced by Senator Mary Camacho Torres, Bill No. 415-35 (COR) appropriates $50,000 to the Department of Administration from the unexpended funds of Torres’ office budget to conduct a wage study of all positions covered under the Nurse Pay Plan.

While Public Law 35-36 had authorized the expenditure of funds for a government-wide study, which included nursing positions, no appropriation was actually made to carry out this provision.

“I’d like to thank Senator Torres for her bill which certainly helps DOA fulfill its mandate. This funding is a good step toward helping us to tackle a task, which as Senator Torres says, needs to be done,” said Mr. Edward Birn, Director of the Department of Administration. “As a veteran of GMH, I’m very well aware of the conditions, in particular, the pay conditions of our nurses and the need to recruit and, as importantly, to retain nurses. I look forward to being able to carry out this mandate.”

The bill further authorizes an additional transfer of $50,000 from the General Fund —a “very small amount” that Director Birn noted DOA “can find” —allowing for a total of $100,000 to conduct a study exclusively on nursing positions.

“We don’t need a wage study to tell us our nurses deserve better, but we do need to establish competitive compensation to retain our talent,” said Senator Mary Camacho Torres. “By providing a direct source of funding, this bill helps fulfill a mandate our nursing community has long waited for. I ask Governor Leon Guerrero, who I know shares this desire, to sign Bill 415 and conduct this study without delay.”