March 4, 2018
Hagåtña — As we go into session today to address the fiscal crisis and the closure of fire and police stations, the Administration sent its subject matter experts again today to the Legislature to answer specific questions.
“Last night Acting Speaker Therese Terlaje and other senators directed questions on police and fire operations as well as budgetary questions to the new DOA Director without allowing the the Fire Chief, Police Chief and budget Directors to participate, who are present in the building. The intent was to try to embarrass the administration NOT to find solutions,” the Governor’s Director of Communications Oyaol Ngirairikl.
Q. Why are they closing police and fire stations?
A. These moves are to control cost on overtime. Absent any action by the legislature to act on a solution, the Administration needs to transfer public safety officers to DOC to reduce overtime. Closing fire stations also will reduce overtime at the Guam Fire Department.
Q. Why not shut down other government services and keep critical services like public safety fully operational?
A. This was the original plan, which included a 32-hour workweek in place exempting public safety officers like GPD to reduce costs until the legislature passed a bill. However, the Attorney General advised last week that a furlough could not be put in place and that the Administration must follow a 90-day process. As a result of this, these cost-cutting measures, which was shared with Senators last month, must be put in place to address the ongoing shortfall, and will remain until the legislature passes a solution that will provide immediate funding source.
Q. Will my family’s public safety be affected?
A. The Governor has directed other law enforcement agencies to include the Guam Airport Police, Guam Customs and Quarantine, Port Police, Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Agriculture to augment the Guam Police Department. The Police Chief has stated that he has put an operations plan in place that minimizes the impact on the community. This is similar to the plan that is executed in times of emergencies, such as typhoons; these plans include the Mutual Aid Agreement with federal agencies.
Q. How does closing fire stations reduce government expenditures today?
A. The Legislature holds the key to solving this problem. Absent any action by the legislature the Administration MUST put cost cutting measures in places to address the estimated $67M shortfall over the next six months. In order to do this, cuts to government services across the board are severe and include public safety.