March 3, 2018
Hagåtña — As senators recess for the three-day holiday weekend, the Governor and his fiscal team worked alongside the Lt. Governor’s Office and public safety agencies today to address the on-going fiscal crisis.
As a result of the meeting, deeper cost-cutting measures were put in place, to include shutting down the GPD Hagåtña Precinct tomorrow. GPD personnel will be diverted to the Department of Corrections to reduce operational expenditures. The Administration also is looking to augment GPD personnel with safety personnel from other agencies, to include: park rangers, conservation and customs officers, airport and port police.
“As the Legislature takes a break this weekend, my team is working hard. There appears to be no sense of urgency by leadership at the legislature, and this lack of action has brought us to the edge of the fiscal cliff,” Governor Eddie Calvo said.
Inaction by lawmakers to act on multiple bills sent down by the Governor the past few weeks, is taking the government to the point where there will be no cash to pay government employees, causing a government shutdown.
On Friday, Acting Speaker Therese Terlaje ignored the Governor’s call to session and the Organic Act — recessing for the three-day weekend.
Police Chief J.I. Cruz met with his command staff this afternoon to put an operations plan in place: “I want to make very clear to the public that GPD has a plan in place that ensures a limited impact on the public safety of our community. Absent a funding bill from the legislature, we have no choice but to make these deep cuts.”
In addition to the precinct closing tomorrow, two fire stations are set to close. Cuts are taking place government-wide: the furlough process for thousands of government employees has begun, approximately 40 limited-term employees have not been renewed at various agencies; and government leases are being examined to include the recently opened drivers license satellite office in the Agana Shopping Center, which was in response to the public’s demand for quicker services and shorter lines. This satellite office services approximately 100 people a day.
“I want to personally appeal to Acting Speaker Therese Terlaje and to our legislative public safety oversight committee chairperson to resume session immediately and address funding for government operations. The crisis before us requires leadership and a legislative solution. Inaction on your part is compromising the public safety of our community,” Chief Cruz said.
Agency cost cutting measures were submitted to the Legislature on Feb. 13.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q. Why is GPD shutting down the Hagåtña Precinct?
A. Without a funding measure passed by the legislature to address the legislature’s estimated $67M shortfall this fiscal year, ALL government agencies MUST reduce costs. In order to address overtime costs at the prison without compromising the safety of its personnel, force augmentation is required.
Q. Will this reduce officers on patrol?
A. The Administration is working with other law enforcement agencies to augment the Guam Police Department. Agencies include the Department of Parks and Recreation (Park Rangers), Department of Agriculture (Conservation Officers), GIAA Police, and Port Authority Police.
Q. Why are you not making cuts at other agencies, and leaving public safety agencies alone?
A. ALL agencies are making deep cuts. Because of the severe financial shortfall and inaction by the legislature to pass a bill to date, the cuts are getting deeper and more severe.
Q. The Administration and the Legislature knew about federal tax cuts for some time now, why are you only taking action now?
A. The specific impact of federal tax cuts was unknown as the IRS just released the new tax tables on January 12. The impact was determined and agreed upon by the Legislature’s SES Committee in its Feb. 13 meeting. Since this time, action has been taken by the Administration. To date, the Governor has submitted multiple bills to the Legislature to as solutions to avert, and now because of their inaction, to address the fiscal crisis. The Legislature has failed to take any meaningful action on the solutions proposed by the Administration.