Vice-Speaker Cruz to Ask A.G. and Public Auditor to Review Governor’s Office Bonuses

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The Governor’s office says that the Governor had full authority to pay the bonuses and it points out that most bonuses were given to employees who had taken voluntary pay cuts in 2011 to help GovGuam pay out tax refunds. 

Guam – Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz says he will ask the Attorney General and the Public Auditor to review personnel action documents he received from the Governor’s Office via a Freedom of Information Act Request.

 

 

 “We may be requesting an A.G. opinion and maybe the assistance of the Public Auditor to review the documents for us. I don’t want to have all the documents here I think the Public Auditor is better equipped to go through all these documents and so we’ll ask her to do an audit of this whole process and how it was done,” said Vice-Speaker Cruz.

 Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz is referring to additional pay that was given to employees of the Governor’s office. Cruz noticed a spike of over a million dollars in personnel costs at the Governor’s office towards the end of last year. The Vice-Speaker asked BBMR during an oversight hearing what the spike was from but they couldn’t answer him so he requested for personnel action forms from the Governor’s office via a Freedom of Information Act request and he received that information last week. The documents show that the employees in question received raises and then some sort of additional pay at the end of the year.

 “They say it’s not retro pay because the 32208 did not allow for retro pay for unclassified employees of the Governor’s office. It gave the Governor and Lt. Governor a chance to get retro pay but not any body else. The response I got was that it’s a bonus,” said Cruz. The Vice-Speaker is now asking under what authority were the bonuses given. “Because in 2010 when public health and social services was going to do this the Attorney General issued an opinion that you couldn’t have this bonus and the bonus was only 3.5% anyway,” said Cruz.

 The Vice-Speaker says that the amounts of the bonuses given to these employees are far more than the 3.5 percent that he knows is allowed by law. “Some of them are at 30 percent some of them are at 20 percent some of them are at eleven some of them are at five but I didn’t see any increase that are as low as 3.5 percent,” said the Vice-Speaker. Cruz says he’s not sure if the Governor is allowed to give bonuses that are this high which is another reason he will seek the advice of the Attorney General and the Public Auditor.

 

 According to the Governor’s office the Governor did use proper funding authority to pay bonus compensation that was authorized by 4GCA sections 6207 6207.1. The Governor’s office says that it is the legislature that ran into a deficit that would have led to a pay less payday when it paid its staffers a lump sum cash out. The Gov’s office also points out that the Governor and Lt. Governor’s staff joined the Governor and Lt. Governor when they voluntarily took a 10 percent pay cut from 2011 to 2012 adding that this is primarily the same group that got the bonuses. 

 

READ FULL RESPONSE FROM GOV’S OFFICE BELOW:

 

Last week, the Governor’s office responded to a FOIA request from Vice Speaker Cruz. The Vice Speaker sent a similar request to DOA, but the wording was more general in nature. The request sent to the Governor’s office was more specific and that’s what we responded to — and the response also met the intent of the request sent to DOA. 

 

Not only did the governor use proper funding authority to pay compensation allowed by law, as you’ll see in the Governor’s letter and the attachment to the letter, it was the Legislature that ran into a deficit — which would have led to a payless payday — when it paid its staffers a lump sum cash out. This was why they asked the governor to use his authority to transfer funds so they wouldn’t have a payless payday.

 

The bonus compensation, not retroactive pay, was made within the authority given to the Governor under 4 GCA sections 6207 and 6207.1. 

 

The Vice Speaker himself noted on Ray’s show (Ray pointed out that legislative staffers also received increases) that the Governor has the authority to determine salaries for his staff. 

 
I also want to point out that the Governor’s and Lt. Governor’s staff joined the Governor and Lt. Governor when they cut their own salaries by 10 percent from 2011 to 2012 (about a year and a half). That money was used to help pay tax refunds at a time when the government was facing serious fiscal constraints. This is primarily the same group that received the bonus. 
 
At the time they started these volunteer pay cuts, the governor extended an invitation to the Legislature to help out in the same way but didn’t receive any response. I also want to point out that they simply volunteered and legislation wasn’t required to make this happen.