VIDEO: “Our View”: Raises for Elected Officials Are Wrong

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Guam – “Our View” is a periodic feature representing the editorial opinion of the Pacific News Center, written and edited by Editorial Consultant Jon Anderson.

“Our View”: Raises for Elected Officials Are Wrong

Are we the only ones who find the entire public discussion about the Hay Study’s compensation recommendations embarrassing and just a bit comical? The discussion  revolves around the pay and benefits package for government employees, who on average are already paid at higher rates than in the private sector.

Some of the salaries proposed are substantial.  The governor and Lt. Governor will get six figure salaries. Mayors get a boost to $75,000 a year under the Governor’s plan. Members of the legislature–who are not really government of Guam employees at all– would be more comfortable at $85,000 per annum.

What’s that again?  Eighty five large for senators?  Well why not?  We now find ourselves apparently awash in cash, so we may as we’ll boost our elected lawmakers up to the second highest paid legislators in the country, right behind California.

How the average voter on this island will relate to such spending remains to be seen.  Nearly half of Guam is on food stamps, after all.  All this largesse may make them envious, perhaps, or motivate them to run for office. But they may also resent the pay raises and the heavy-handed way they were forced upon the private sector.

We still have a huge public debt which will come due inexorably as our children mature and become taxpayers.  Governor Calvo was right about one thing.  We couldn’t afford these Hay pay recommendations in 2011, and we still can’t afford them. Neither side distinguished itself during the public debate, filled as it was with half truths and outright mistakes.  It is some pretty expensive vote buying.  But for Guam to try and justify these wages when we are up to our collective eyeballs in public debt is wrong.

Salary Increases for Elected Officials in the Governor’s plan:

* Senators: from $65,000 to $85,000                  –  31% increase

* Governor: from $90,000 to $130,000                –  44% increase

* Lt. Governor: from $85,000 to $110,000           – 29% increase

* Mayors: from $46,062 to $75,000                     – 63% increase

* Vice Mayors:  from $42,264 to $68,000           – 61% increase