GovGuam services, employees, and the economy enter “Cruz Crisis.”
February 28, 2018
Hagåtña — After months of delays by Speaker BJ Cruz and the Guam Legislature on several bills introduced by the Governor that avert a fiscal crisis at GMH and the Government of Guam, resulting from federal tax cuts, the domino effect of severe austerity measures have started to unfold — the island has entered the “Cruz Crisis.”
While corporations have enjoyed significant tax cuts in recent weeks, government of Guam employees and their families must now endure a 32-hour work week (equivalent to a 20% pay cut) due to inaction by local lawmakers.
After announcing a 32-hour workweek yesterday, Fire Chief Joey San Nicolas announced today, absent instructions otherwise, that he has no choice but to shut down the Astumbo, Piti and Talofofo Fire stations to curtail overtime and immediately reduce costs. The fire department is currently understaffed and was hopeful to complete a fire cycle, which is now frozen.
Since last summer, the Governor has put three bills before the legislature addressing fiscal shortfalls at GMH and federal tax cuts. None of these bills have passed and to date senators have not taken action or introduced an alternative solution. Appropriating funds for the Government of Guam’s operations is the primary role of the Legislature, the POLICY-MAKING BODY.
“For the sake of the island we serve and our Firefighters, Emergency Medical Dispatchers and critical non-uniform staff we were hopeful that the Legislature would have passed a bill of substance by now, considering the urgency of the situation. I am not confident that a solution will be passed in time after watching this stretch on for weeks,” Chief Joey San Nicolas said.
“If individual senators have better solutions and don’t want to see 32-hour work weeks and a crisis in public safety by a degradation of services, I ask them two questions- what is your solution and when will you introduce it,” asked San Nicolas.
The Fire Chief said he will be executing plans next week if nothing significant is passed.