965 law enforcement officers to see raises

PUBLIC SAFETY: Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero discusses the need for a pay increase for Guam's law enforcement officers during a virtual signing ceremony held Tuesday, Jan. 18. Adelup video screenshot 

Effective Jan. 30, the government of Guam’s law enforcement officers will receive an 18% bump in their base pay.

The increase will impact more than 900 employees from various agencies, and is expected to cost the government $16 million per fiscal year, according to Edward Birn, director of the Department of Administration

The governor signed an executive order today, Jan. 18, that accepts and formalizes the findings of DOA wage study for the government’s law enforcement.

“The last pay increase for law enforcement was 2014 - close to 10 years now,” she said.

The governor noted that the government of Guam had fallen behind and the increase to the base salaries will “allow greater retention of public safety officers and recruitment” for those agencies.

“This is a necessary action because we are continuing to lose our frontline public law enforcement personnel,” she said. “As fast as we are hiring them, it’s just as fast as we are losing them.”

She commended DOA for a “very comprehensive” effort that took into account pay scales across the states, as well as federal agencies.

“And of course our greatest competition here is our federal partners - we reviewed the federal pay scale,” she said. What was found was Guam Police Department, being the largest public safety agency, was behind national and federal counterparts by about 18%.

The governor said the salary bump isn’t expected to impact current fiscal year budgets. She said the agencies will implement the increase and pay for it our of their own budgets.

“If there are any shortfalls, our administration will work with the various leaders … we will use funds within our discretion to make up for the shortfall. So that’s why it’s not going to impact (fiscal) 2022,” she said.

Looking ahead to the next fiscal year, which starts this Oct. 1, she has been working with Sen. Joe San Agustin, who is the chairman of the Legislature’s appropriations committee, and other senators to provide budget numbers for each agency.

The executive branch is expected to submit their fiscal 2023 budget request to the Legislature by next month.

The governor said revenue streams being considered to fund the pay increase are the American Rescue Plan funds, Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credits reimbursements from the federal government, “aggressive tax collections” by the Department of Revenue and Taxation, and the diligent efforts of agency directors and chiefs to be frugal.

“All those work together so that we can sustain this in our budget next fiscal year,” she said.

The salary increase will include the following agencies: Guam Police Department, the Guam Fire Department, the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency, the Office of the Attorney General, the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center, and the Departments of Corrections, Youth Affairs, Parks and Recreation, Agriculture, Revenue and Taxation, Military Affairs, and Public Works, and the A.B. Won Pat International Airport Authority.

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