GWA "fact-checks" reporting on double pay that cost $1M

CUSTOMERS: This photo shows just part of the line of cars waiting to pay their bills that wound around the Guam Waterworks building on May 4 in Harmon. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

The Guam Waterworks Authority on Friday issued a statement calling out The Guam Daily Post on what GWA calls inaccurate reporting on the double pay issue.

Last week, the Post reported in two stories that top-level managers and employees of both GWA and the Guam Power Authority were given double pay. The double pay cost the agencies $1 million each – which covered three pay periods.

The Post also reported on May 21 about GWA's filing with the Public Utilities Commission indicating additional plans for the payment of more double pay.

One correction GWA wanted to state was "No member of GWA executive management received any additional pay during the public health emergency." There is no record of the general manager and assistant general managers of GWA receiving double pay. GPA's executive management did receive extra pay.

But a number of GWA managers and supervisors who were not part of executive management did receive double pay, records show. These payments, through April 25, ranged from several thousand dollars to more than $12,000 in three pay periods. Among them, according to records GWA released to the Post through a Freedom of Information Act request: an information technology manager received double pay of $10,945; an asset management maintenance info officer, $8,469; a system programmer administrator, $8,640; a supply management administrator, $10,309; an operations and maintenance manager, $11,961; a payroll supervisor, $7,797; an inventory management officer, $7,024; and an operations and maintenance manager, $12,825.

The Guam attorney general's office has stated in an opinion that double pay applies, in a public emergency, only when government personnel are called to work while their offices are closed. GWA administrative offices were closed but customer service staff continued to accept payments at drive-thru counters, by phone and online. GWA's water and wastewater plants continued operating.

GWA also wanted to "fact-check" that "any double pay earned by GWA employees ended on April 25."

The payments did end on April 25. GWA submitted documents on May 8 to the rate-setting Public Utilities Commission showing that GWA wants to spend $340,000 per pay period in double pay between May and early July.

GWA does state in Exhibit A of its May 8 filing with the PUC its “projected expenses” of $340,000 each pay period from May to July 7, 2020.

GWA facilities have reopened so the agency isn't expected to continue with the double pay plan if facilities remain open.

GWA stated it paid double pay because it was following its rules on double pay, which were adopted from Department of Administration rules. Those provisions no longer applied on May 14, after GWA facilities opened, but may apply again if the facilities are closed, GWA stated.

A GWA memo has also advised that, effective April 26, compensation for employees required to report to work at their duty stations would change from twice the regular pay to regular pay – plus one compensatory leave credit for each hour worked in accordance with GWA Personnel Rules and Regulations.

The filing with the PUC also states GWA wanted to "amortize" these costs over a period to be determined by the PUC.

The Post reported that GWA also proposed "other expenses associated with allowing managers and employees to work from home.” These telework expenses have been recorded. They're not future expenses, as reported by the Post.

And GWA took issue with the Post reporting that "the cost, if the plan is approved, could be shouldered by GWA customers at a time when the agency is faced with reduced revenues and customers trying to cope with the economic downturn.”

GWA stated it wants to "Fact-check: This regulatory asset will assist with GWA’s ability to pay down expenses over time without GWA having to petition the PUC to increase customer rates to cover the unexpected COVID-19 expenses."

Ratepayers will still pay the double pay if PUC approves. GWA is asserting it doesn't have to raise rates in spite of the double pay.

Recommended for you