Guam – In a special address Department of Administration Director Benita Manglona blasted lawmakers for questioning the Govenor’s hay plan now when they didn’t question Hay raises in 2010.
She accused the Democratic leadership of hindering the Governor’s plan and preventing GovGuam employees from getting their raises. However Speaker Judi Won Pat and Speaker B.J. Cruz say these allegations are false and they responded today.
“There’s something else I need to get off my chest that has been annoying me – both as a public official and as an accountant. When the Hay plan was implemented four years ago – there was no money for it. and do you know what Speaker Won Pat and Senator Pangelinan and Vice-Speaker Cruz said about it in 2010? Nothing. Do you know what their scrutiny was? Nothing. How many hearings did they hold to address this? None,” said DOA Director Benita Manglona
“Well she might also want to ask somebody that’s maybe not in her building anymore but she might wanna ask her Governor and her Lt. Governor who were both members of the legislature in 2010 how many questions they asked about the Hay plan,” retorted Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz adding, “As an accountant thankfully I’ve never used her as an accountant because I’m shocked that she would say that asking for numbers is unnecessary. I would think that an accountant would understand that it’s imperative that you have to ask the questions about the numbers in order to be able to make a decision and it’s very disconcerting to think that she says that she’s an accountant that doesn’t want to give the nubmers.”
The Vice-Speaker says that just because the legislature didn’t ask questions back in 2010 there should be nothing wrong with them asking questions now. Which is why they’ve been asking Manglona for the specifics of the Governor’s Hay plan, something Manglona denied lawmakers in two separate public hearings. “In fact Friday after the hearing where she invited me up to the Department of Administration I drove up to the Department of Administration at four twenty in the afternoon and waited for her and she didn’t show up,” said Vice-Speaker Cruz.
Manglona blasted lawmakers for their handling of the financial crisis in the beginning of 2011. Manglona accused Speaker Won Pat, Senators Pangelinan Respicio and Vice-Speaker Cruz of questioning the financial crisis. “Vice-Speaker Cruz was my biggest critic, demanding useless information to prove the financial crisis existed. Senators, for crying out loud, this government owed every taxpayer an average of $7,000 in tax refunds at that time. There was a $330 million deficit, and you were trying to tell me that there was no financial crisis?” said Manglona.
In response to this Vice-Speaker Cruz said, “Benita has revisionist history problems. The $17 million dollar deficit that I pointed out to her at the beginning of 2011 was when she came in as the nominee and I almost didn’t confirm her because of the fact that she as the Director of Administration was not taking sufficient care to read the financial statements that they were issuing and in the financial statement that was issued out of the Department of Administration showed that she had a $17 million dollar deficit and she came in with Kathy Kakigi and insisted that they made an error in posting something that related to bank charges and that that was the reason there was a deficit,” said Cruz.
Manglona accused the senators of getting in the way of paying GovGuam employees competitive wages but this is not entirely true. In fact the competitive wage act that the legislature passed on Saturday only prevents raises for Senators, The Governor and Lt. Governor and cabinet members. It even gives raises to mayors just not as much as what was outlined in the Governor’s plan. “The bill that we passed does not in any way prevent the Governor from moving forward and giving these salary increases and to do them in phases,” said Speaker Won Pat.
In response to the questions that lawmakers have been asking Manglona accused Speaker Won Pat and other Democrat Senators of never preventing a shortfall in their lives. “I don’t want this to be a tit for tat. I think that whatever rhetoric there is that its really got to stop and we really need to work together because we’re talking about monies that we’ve appropriated and that we’ll appropriate again in the next legislature for the people of Guam,” replied Speaker Won Pat.
Manglona accused Democrats of blocking the Hay plan for purely political reasons. However, Democrats point out that they passed a bill this weekend that would implement the Hay raises for both classified and unclassified employees but not for Senators, the Governor, Lt. Governor and cabinet members or agency heads.