Bill 323 review ongoing; major concern uncovered
August 14, 2018
Hagåtña — Bill 323 prohibits hiring of teachers, professors, nurses, doctors, engineers, social workers and many other positions throughout the government.
“We continue to review the Fiscal Year 2019 budget bill. We have found a section that will have a profound negative impact on the government’s ability to provide critical services and maintain stability for our community,” Governor Calvo stated.
Speaker BJ Cruz, the Secretary of the Legislature Sen. Regine Biscoe Lee and her co-chairperson for the Committee on Rules Sen. Dennis Rodriguez all are charged with the presentment of legislative bills to the executive branch. How this provision got through is a very good question.
These Legislative leaders are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of legislation transmitted to the executive branch. We hope this is not a poison pill intended to deteriorate the stability that this administration has worked so hard to establish following the federal tax cuts.
The Governor was grateful that Senators managed to see through Sen. San Nicolas’ misrepresentation of the Supplemental Appropriation Revenues fund and the disruption it would have caused in the government.
However, as we watched the two weeks of budget sessions at the Legislature, it was clear that there are factions divided according to political interests and alliances.
The Governor’s authority to enact duly passed legislation is the people of Guam’s last line of defense against chaos. And as such, we raise this issue, as we continue our review of Bill 323.
In the bill, Chapter 12, Section 12, Restrictions on Hiring of Unclassified Employees states: Unless otherwise authorized by this Chapter, government funds of any kind or description may be expended for the employment or hiring of unclassified employees in the Executive Branch of the government of Guam, EXCEPT for the following:
What follows that paragraph is a list of positions, including:
(a) certified persons at the Guam Department of Education
(b) academic teaching positions at the University of Guam and the Guam Community College;
(c) nurses, doctors, licensed health professionals, and ancillary health employees necessary for clinical purposes at the Department of Public Health and Social Services, the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the Guam Memorial Hospital Authority, the Guam Police Department, and the Department of Integrated Services for Individuals with Disabilities;
(d) Department of Labor Survey Workers;
(e) Systems and Programming Administrator, Junior Systems Programmer, Senior Programmer Analyst, Junior Application Analyst, Junior Programmer Analyst, and Junior Application Programmer; and positions dealing with reporting, tax audits, tax investigations, tax collections, and processing of taxes at the Department of Revenue and Taxation;
(f) federally-funded positions (matching and up to 100%);
(g) persons filling temporary vacancies created by the call to active military duty of employees who are members of the reserve components of the Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation, including, but not limited to, the United States Army, United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, United States Air Force, the Guam Army National Guard, the Guam Air National Guard, and the United States Coast Guard, or created by absence due to a long-term disability status which has been certified by a medical doctor. Departments may exercise this hiring authority provided its authorized budget for personnel is not exceeded;
(h) positions within the Office of I Maga’låhen Guåhan, the Office of I Segundu na Maga’låhen Guåhan and the Guam State Clearinghouse, and department or agency heads, and private secretaries;
(i) positions within the Mayors Council of Guam;
(j) positions within the Guam Election Commission;
(k) limited-term, part-time substitute teachers of the Guam Department of Education;
(l) all persons employed pursuant to this Section, effective October 1, 2018, shall meet the minimum Knowledge, Abilities, and Skills (KAS) associated with such position;
(m) professional engineers required to fill Chief Engineer positions;
(n) positions within the Business Office of the Guam Memorial Hospital Authority (GMHA) which shall consist of certified coders and billers;
(o) Victim Advocates within the Office of the Attorney General;
(p) the Executive Director and staff positions of I Kumision i Fino′ CHamoru yan i Fina′nå′guen i Historia yan Lina’la’ i Taotao Tåno′ (the Commission on CHamoru Language and the Teaching of the History and Culture of the Indigenous People of Guam);
(q) Child Protective Service social workers at the Department of Public Health and Social Services; and
(r) Labor Law Enforcement Specialists.