Guam has 19 mayors, each representing one of the island's 19 villages.
They have the power to issue citations, similar to what police officers issue for a traffic violation. Mayors can issue a ticket listing a citation or a number of citations against people who violate Guam law – people who allow their dogs to roam free and unsupervised outside of the owner's property, and those who dump trash illegally.
With the number of mayors we have to service such a small island as well as the enormity of our problem with junk cars, illegally dumped trash and free-roaming dogs, you'd think the mayors would have issued multiple citations by now to curb these problems and deter more violations.
Fines from these citations also help fund the mayors' offices, so our mayors should be motivated to use their authority to curb illegal trash dumping and dog owners who let their pets roam the neighborhood.
However, as of Wednesday, out of the 19 mayors' offices, only one – that's right, one – ticket has been issued, the Superior Court of Guam has confirmed. The law empowering mayors has been in effect for years.
Piti Mayor Jesse Alig, who has been in office for about three years, said he issued the ticket to a resident of Oceanview Drive whose dog bit one of his staff members. The ticket listed various citations, including leaving a dog unleashed, improperly housing a pet, and owning a dog that attacked a person.
Not a single ticket has been issued by the mayors for illegal trash dumping.
We know this lone statistic based on the records available in the Superior Court of Guam. The process to record citations on trash dumping and violations of pet restraint laws include dropping off a mayor's ticket citation at a lockbox in the office of the Mayors' Council of Guam. Each week, the box is opened by Superior Court staff to bring the tickets to court for processing.
Only one ticket from the mayors' council has been processed at the court so far, the Judiciary of Guam has confirmed.
The Judiciary has trained these mayors on how to properly fill out tickets to issue a citation or citations. The mayors were also provided with ticket booklets.
All the mayors need is the will to enforce existing law.
Several months ago, some of the mayors lamented that their power to issue a citation is limited because they can only cite people who are residents of their respective villages. They said their hands are tied if the suspected violator dumps trash in a village in which he or she does not reside.
It is disappointing to find out that, despite the gravity of Guam's problems with illegally dumped trash as well as its massive and growing problem with stray dogs and unleashed pets, just one mayor has actually issued a ticket against a dog owner. We have yet to see one citation from the mayors related to illegal trash dumping.
Mayors, for a base salary of $75,000 a year, taxpayers expect you to do better.