In 2014, six months after the Governor submitted the Competitive Wage Act of 2014 to Senators, Sen. Frank Aguon authored legislation that allowed the Judiciary to:
- Increase salaries
- Pay those retroactive to January 2014
The Governor signed Bill 307 into Public Law 32-166. He and most senators agreed in 2014 that the employees at the Judiciary, both classified and unclassified, should have their salaries increased and that salary should be retroactive to January, which is when increased wages were effective for all of GovGuam’s classified positions and for Mayors. The Judiciary had initially decided not to participate in the wage study until months after the administration introduced the Competitive Wage Act of 2014.
The late inclusion of the Judiciary in the wage act, and then their exclusion from the current discussion on salaries — ruled as non-germane by Speaker BJ Cruz who is a retired judge — highlights the Governor’s and Majority Leader Tom Ada’s comments about political games. Further, it makes this whole debate on wages about who is in the job and not about the responsibilities of the job itself.
Governor Calvo, along with Sen. Fernando Esteves and Sen. Tommy Morrison, has been consistent in pointing the attention to the job — without regard for who is doing the job.
Several senators, including Sen. Frank Aguon and Sen. Mike San Nicolas play these political games, and pick and choose who should get what salaries and when — without regard to the level of responsibilities and duties.
“I value the level of effort and work that goes into the responsibilities we carry,” the Governor stated. “Obviously, some senators don’t believe in their value. I would think that a smaller salary, because I believe salaries should reflect the responsibilities of positions, would mean senators should work part-time.”
An $85,000 a year pay suits a full-time Legislature. If you really want to reduce salaries, a part-time legislator makes about $15,000 to $20,000.
We also agree with Sens. Fernando Esteves and Tommy Morrison that returning to a part-time Legislature would open the door to people who have full-time jobs but are willing to step up and, for a smaller wage or even stipend, address the purpose of the Legislature: creating law and approving the budget.
“They have the right idea. Not only that, they have been consistent in the issue on the pay — they have neither wavered nor capitulated to the winds of political favor that sacrifices good governance for the sake of votes,” the Governor stated. “Sen. Aguon would do well to learn this lesson of staying consistent in his beliefs, regardless of who is effected by his policies.”