Guam - Guam Governor Eddie Calvo says he received assurances from Navy Under Secretary Robert Work that the Navy will do whatever it can to protect the jobs of the skilled workers at the ship repair facility.
Concerns have been raised about the RFP that the Navy has issued seeking bids for a company to provide ship repair services. Guam Shipyard currently provides that service and they are one of the bidders.
GovGuam officials have raised concerns that the RFP may go to an off island firm that will bring in off-island workers.
But according to a release from the Governor's Office, Under Secretary Work assured the Governor that the Navy will do whatever it can to protect the shipyard jobs currently held by Guam workers.
Work told Calvo: “We want Guam jobs to stay on Guam.”
NAVFAC Marianas Commander Captain John Heckman made the same commitment in an interview with PNC news last month saying that the Navy is looking for someone who can provide ship repair capabilities, as well as local employment.
The deadline for submission of proposals to manage the ship repair facility was originally scheduled for last week Monday, February 20th. However NAVFAC Spokeswoman Catherine Cruz-Norton told PNC News today that the deadline for submissions of proposals has been extended until March 16th, 12 noon Guam time.
READ the release from the Governor's Office in FULL below:
Navy Committed to Local Employment at Guam's Ship Repair Facility; Governor Calvo receives important assurances from Navy, meets with new DoD Under Secretary for Policy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2012
(Washington, D.C.) – Governor Eddie Baza Calvo's productive and close relationship with the Pentagon continues to translate in a “One Guam” approach to the buildup. This week, Governor Calvo met with Under Secretary of the Navy Robert Work, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations and Environment) Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Installations and Environment) Roger Natsuhara, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment Dr. Dorothy Robyn, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian & Pacific Security Affairs Dr. Peter Lavoy, and the newly appointed Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (Acting) Dr. James Miller.
In the first meeting, with Secretaries Work, Pfannenstiel, and Natsuhara, Governor Calvo discussed the Navy's plans to reduce the number of Marines coming to Guam from 8,000 to 4,700, and about the potential mix between permanent and rotational troops. Governor Calvo explained to the Under Secretary that the Guam community has a very keen understanding of Section 30 reimbursements, and he insisted that any consideration of the troop mix should also explore ways to maximize Section 30 reimbursements to the island.
Governor Calvo continued to push for the Navy's support for Chinese visa waiver. Although the Department of Homeland Security exercised parole authority to grant visa waiver for Russia, Governor Calvo stressed the importance of visa waiver also being granted to China. Secretary Work assured Governor Calvo that the Department is examining ways to balance Guam's economic interests with national security concerns.
"I want to thank the Navy, especially Under Secretary Work and Admiral Paul Bushong, for their support for the Guam-CNMI visa waiver program," said Governor Calvo.
The Governor also raised concerns about the RFP issued for the former Navy ship repair facility on Guam. In the meeting, he sought assurances from the Navy that it would not negatively impact the approximately 350 employees working at the ship repair facility. At this point, Under Secretary Work assured the Governor that the Navy will do whatever it can to protect these local positions.
“We want Guam jobs to stay on Guam,” Navy Under Secretary Work told Governor Calvo.
Under Secretary Work also stressed the Navy is committed to keeping the SRF open, and is looking to help it grow as a viable commercial business.
“Secretaries Work and Pfannenstiel are fighting to make this buildup not just good for the Marines, but also good for Guam,” Governor Calvo said. “Everyone on the island can rest assure that even at the highest levels of the federal government, we have friends looking out for us. I'm confident that with their help, and the help of our other friends in the Pentagon, this buildup will stimulate our economy and be the catalyst of the new century of Guamanian prosperity.”
During this meeting, Governor Calvo also expressed his frustrations with the Maritime Administration's (MARAD) lack of progress on the modernization for the Port Authority of Guam. The local and federal governments both need these projects to be completed before major work on the military buildup can begin.
“I know the port's modernization is just as important to us as it is to you. I'm asking for your help and assistance to get some movement on these projects,” Governor Calvo said.
Under Secretary Work was unaware that the pace of the modernization was so slow. He committed to working with his counterpart in MARAD to ensure they understand the importance of the modernization, and push them to begin these projects.
Meeting with New DoD Under Secretary for Policy
Governor Calvo's second meeting was with Secretaries Miller, Robyn, and Lavoy. Under Secretary Miller expressed his commitment to working with the Calvo Tenorio administration, just as Secretaries Robyn and Lavoy have.
During this appointment, Governor Calvo again brought up the Guam-CNMI visa waiver program, and he was again assured that the Department of Defense was fully engaged in this issue. As in prior discussions the Department of Defense had with Guam's executive branch, Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo, and the local business community, Governor Calvo remains encouraged that progress is being made on the issue of Chinese visa waiver as talks focus on addressing national security concerns.
"The discussions have evolved from whether DoD should or shouldn't support visa waiver, to trying to figure out how much pre-flight notice is necessary to mitigate national security concerns. That is a step in the right direction," Governor Calvo said.
Governor Calvo also asked for updates on plans for a transient aircraft carrier and for Army and Air Force unit positioning on Guam.
“The Guam Air National Guard is the only Air National Guard unit in the nation without assigned aircraft ,” Governor Calvo informed the Secretaries.
He encouraged Secretary Miller to consider options that permanently assign USAF aircraft and crew members to Guam including efforts to get aircraft for the Guam Air National Guard.
“We already have two very powerful allies in Secretaries Robyn and Lavoy,” Governor Calvo said. “After meeting Secretary Miller, I'm confident we have another member of 'Team Guam' in the Pentagon. I look forward to continue working with the Department of Defense to ensure this buildup is in the best interest of Guam and the federal government.”