The Guam Solid Waste Authority board has authorized the hiring of an assistant general manager and at the same time allowed current General Manager Larry Gast to rescind his resignation and stay on board while they search for his replacement. 

Gast, who cited personal reasons behind his resignation, will be allowed to work from Florida, where his family resides.   

The arrangement, said board Chairman Andrew Gayle, is "not dissimilar to how the (federal) receiver operated for so many years in this kind of remote fashion."  

Gast first submitted his resignation in early August, but the GSWA had been working on a way to keep him in some capacity. It took about six or seven months to find and hire Gast after his predecessor resigned in August 2018.

There are educational and experience requirements in law that make finding a qualified GSWA general manager difficult, Gayle said Thursday, when the votes were made.   

However, the law also allows the board to hire an entity, rather than a person, to fulfill the role of general manager, Gayle said.  

The law also allows the general manager to hire an assistant general manager with the consent of the board, but it doesn't necessarily specify requirements for the job, making it easier to fill that position, according to board discussions Thursday. 

GSWA may find itself using a firm to fulfill the technical requirements of the general manager position, with an assistant general manager acting at the local level, Gayle said.

"That is a possibility and the statute allows for that possibility," he added. 

Gast remains an employee and retains his compensation under the arrangement with the board. His salary is listed as $150,000 per year, under the third quarter fiscal 2020 staffing pattern. Gayle said his arrangement and the general manager search would hopefully last less than a year, "maybe up to six months." 

The assistant general manager would provide technical and operational support, and it is estimated that they would take on about 30% of Gast's duties at some point. The plan is to adjust Gast's salary downward as the assistant general manager takes on some of his responsibilities. Kathy Kakigi, the GSWA comptroller, said recent retirements should leave enough funding to cover the assistant general manager position. 

One off-island applicant has already submitted a resume for the general manager position, and GSWA is confirming that they meet the statutory requirements. 

Whether GSWA continues holding both a general manager and assistant general manager, due to organizational or budgetary reasons, will have to be addressed later, Gayle added. 

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