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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Guam Port Authority Affects Sudden Leadership Changes
New acting general manager is also public works director

By Joy White

HAGTA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Dec. 11, 2012) – At a critical time for the Port Authority of Guam’s (PAG) operations, the Port’s board of directors announced yesterday afternoon a sudden change of leadership.

Acting General Manager Anisia Terlaje officially resigned yesterday morning and at a special meeting held later that afternoon, the board approved a motion to appoint Department of Public Works Director Joanne Brown as the acting general manager.

PAG board chairman Dan Tydingco said Brown’s appointment is "indefinite." Tydingco said the board had been in discussion with the governor to decide on the port's leadership.

Several PAG employees are under investigation and received notices of adverse action last week. PAG General Manager Mary Torres is currently on planned administrative leave unrelated to the investigation.

According to a statement issued by her legal counsel, Attorney Patrick Civille, Torres will be returning this Friday. The statement declares, "I have been authorized to speak on her behalf and to directly and specifically deny any suggestion of misconduct against her."

Torres has not been asked to resign from her position, Civille stated.

Tydingco could not comment on personnel matters and the ongoing investigation. However, Tydingco stated, "there are internal laws and processes that were flawed and not in place that should have been in place, and [there was] potential manipulation to try to indicate that they were in place."

Tydingco confirmed this investigation is not related to previous allegations of nepotism within PAG.

The investigations will be conducted internally.

Tremendous undertaking

In addition to the investigation, PAG is in the middle of negotiating the purchase of new cranes, ensuring employees’ increment payments are paid, and drafting a responsible budget for Fiscal Year 2013.

"I do realize this is a tremendous undertaking," Brown acknowledged. "I’m going to get familiar really quickly with key management and get a quick understanding of what the issues are and what needs to be addressed."

Brown added that the efficiency of the port’s operations will be top priority.

With Brown’s transition from DPW to the port, DPW will be left in the care of Deputy Director Carl Dominguez, since a new DPW director has not been selected yet.

Brown will assist with the transition. "I still have to go back and forth over the next few days to transition issues, turn over things to the deputy, and meet with employees. I don’t want to just say goodbye without talking with them," she said.

Sen. Tom Ada, who has oversight over the port, said he supports Brown, citing her reputation for being "tough, but fair." Ada is also concerned about the allegations of corruption. The senator further commented that if there are cases where the law is found to be broken, law enforcement should be involved.

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