Aguon makes first move to repeal elected officials' pay raisesWritten by Timothy Mchenry
Guam - As promised, the first bill addressing the issue of pay raises for elected officials has been introduced but not by the lawmakers you may have been expecting it from. Today Senator Frank Aguon Jr. introduced bill 4, which seeks to repeal pay raises for the governor, lt. governor and senators.
It's an issue that has been kicked around in the 33rd and now in the 34th legislature--what to do with the controversial pay raises for elected officials? Senators Mike San Nicolas and Regine Biscoe Lee were among lawmakers to promise, post-election season, to introduce bills to repeal the pay raises in the 34th legislature.
But by introducing bill 4-34, Senator Frank Aguon Jr. becomes the first lawmaker to in this new term to actually tackle it.
"So what bill 4-34 allows us to do is to start from the top. Let's repeal our pay raises for the governor, lieutenant governor and the senators and then if there are any other measures my colleagues would like to introduce to address other concerns then we can deal with them and have those proposals and have that conversation at that point in time," said Aguon.
Aguon, however, stops short of a full repeal of the law telling PNC that he wants to work on the pay raise issue incrementally. Additionally, Aguon introduced a companion legislation, bill 5, which repeals a Guam statute that essentially ties the salaries of the governor and lt. governor to those of their cabinet members.
Aguon says current provision restricts cabinet members from making more than their bosses.
Aguon says, "That provision in law, in the code right now restricts anyone, or the governor from allowing his cabinet members to make what he feels is appropriate for their position so it would delink the two and ensure that through the passage of bill 4-34 into law that it does not affect the cabinet members.”
Bill 5 would remove a potential and previous roadblock to repealing the governor and lt. governor's pay raises while essentially putting the ball in the governor's court at the same time. Should bill 4 pass, bill 5 would allow the governor and lt. governor to have complete control over whether to raise or lower the salaries of their cabinet officials.
Meanwhile, for bill 4, Aguon thinks he has enough support in the next legislative session.
"I can say that we do have at least eight votes to be able to get this particular proposal through and we certainly hope that that will continue beyond that. The concern that I have is if there is a consideration for the full repeal, that we may not have the ten votes for an override so what we need to do is we need to start to address it incrementally and this is the start," said Aguon.
Aguon added it is his understanding that the bill will likely end up referred to the General Governmental Operations Committee which Senator Mike San Nicolas chairs.