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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

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Apparently Deposed Guam Port Official Denies Misconduct
Mary Torres on vacation as authority appoints ‘interim’ manager

By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGTA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Dec. 12, 2012) – Mary Torres has retained legal counsel and issued a statement denying any suggestion of misconduct against her as general manager at the Port Authority of Guam.

Torres was on a previously scheduled off-island vacation when the governor's office announced on Thursday the Port Authority board has launched an investigation into allegations of "corruption" at the agency.

Torres' attorney stated her vacation had been approved by the Port Authority board. A few days after Torres' vacation began, the Port board declared a "leadership void" to name a new interim general manager.

Torres returns to Guam on Friday, her attorney said, but it was unclear if she's returning to the Port Authority.

The appointment of the new interim general manager at the Port Authority, Joanne Brown, is indefinite, Port board Chairman Dan Tydingco has said.

A Cabinet reshuffle in February moved Torres from being executive manager at the A.B. Won Pat Guam International Airport Authority to the Port Authority of Guam, which runs the island's civilian seaport. She was a deputy general manager at the Guam Visitors Bureau before moving up to the airport agency.

"I have been authorized to speak on (Torres') behalf and to directly and specifically deny any suggestion of misconduct against her," Torres' counsel, attorney G. Patrick Civille, said yesterday. "She has served with high distinction and she has a hard-earned reputation for integrity and honesty," Civille stated. "When Ms. Torres returns on Friday she will address the situation in the same direct and honest way that she has always conducted business."

Torres is the wife of Guam Supreme Court Justice Robert Torres and sister of former Gov. Felix Camacho.

Brown's appointment was announced also in light of the resignation of Anisia Terlaje, a Port Authority deputy general manager who was named acting general manager last week. Terlaje resigned after the Port board's internal investigation into unspecified concerns began.

Terlaje wanted to avoid an appearance of having an influence on the investigation so she resigned, Tydingco has said.

One of Brown's first tasks is to correct hiring processes at the Port, unrelated to the latest internal Port board investigation, Tydingco said. The earlier investigation, launched in May, was about alleged nepotism, Tydingco said. The board's chairman said he couldn't disclose any specifics of the nature of the investigation because personnel matters are confidential.

Several Port Authority employees have been served notices of proposed adverse action, but the governor's office and the Port board couldn't confirm what the proposed adverse actions are or how far up the management ladder the investigation has touched because personnel matters are confidential.

Adverse actions in general can range from suspension, demotion or termination.

Civille said Torres' trip has been scheduled since August, and she's visiting grandchildren who are not able to travel to Guam for Christmas.

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