Link: Pacific Islands Report
Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

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

Guam AG Asked To Investigate Port Authority Issues
6 employees, general manager dismissed by port administration

By Joy White

HAGTA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Dec. 21, 2012) – Port officials have confirmed that the report on the adverse action taken against the six classified Port Authority of Guam employees has been transmitted to the Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Attorney for further investigation.

Sen. Judi Guthertz has also taken it upon herself to write to Attorney General Leonardo Rapadas and U.S. Attorney Alicia Limtiaco, requesting that they conduct an investigation into the "crisis."

"Our most vital public facility in Guam, our commercial port, is in the middle of a crisis that demands an immediate investigation by appropriate third parties," Guthertz wrote in her letter.

In addition to the six classified employees, Mary Torres was dismissed from her position as general manager of the port on Wednesday.

Torres’ legal counsel, Patrick Civille, told media that no decision has yet been made on what legal action, if any, Torres will take.

Analysts have said the employees could win if the case is taken to court.

In an interview with Variety, Tony Lamorena, executive director of the Civil Service Commission, said the port employees have 20 days to file an appeal on the adverse action.

Lamorena also said those employees who received notices of proposed adverse action are given 10 business days to respond to management.

"After the 10-day period, management reviews responses of the employees. Then management will give the final adverse action," Lamorena explained. "If management was to take action, they would demote, suspend or terminate the employees."

The employees received their notices of adverse action on Dec. 6 and received letters of termination on Dec. 18, which is two days under the 10-day requirement.

Adelup stands firm

Even with the controversy over the termination of the port employees, the Governor’s Office and the PAG board are standing by their decisions.

Governor’s Chief of Staff Frank Arriola stated: "Her recollection and my recollection are different," referring to a meeting that Torres referenced during her press conference. Arriola maintains that he had simply seen something unusual and had red-flagged it.

Torres had told media that Arriola informed her that she was being accused of misconduct for her actions involving a port employee’s claim.

Torres stated that Arriola then gave her the options of resigning, being terminated, or being the general manager of the Guam Visitor’s Bureau.

In her statements to the press, Torres claimed the report involving the employees’ case, prepared by port legal counsel Mike Philips, was filled with inaccuracies and fallacies.

Philips has stated that the report was compiled based on information received or collected from the port and that it was presented to the board and current management. Philips stated he was not aware nor had he gotten any formal confirmation of a lawsuit from the port employees.

Gov. Eddie Calvo also denies any ill-will in the actions and supports the PAG board’s decision. Calvo said the decision was made entirely by the board.

Calvo said: "It has been bittersweet. If you may all recall, I appointed all the members of the board. Mary was the manager of the airport and was the manager of the port based on a recommendation I gave to the port board."

Torres’ brother, former Gov. Felix Camacho, had accused Calvo of allowing a wedge to be driven within the Republican Party.

"I’ll let all the political prognosticators give their assumptions. As far as I’m concerned, every decision that has been made by this administration has been in the best interest of the people of Guam," Calvo said.

Several political figures are very concerned about the events at the port.

The Democratic Party of Guam has voiced its support for the terminated employees: "The Democratic Party of Guam has and will continue to be an advocate for the rights of public employees regardless of their political affiliation. Anyone who acts counter to this ideal is not a member in good standing with our party. To the victims of this political witch hunt: We stand with you."

Marianas Variety Guam:
Copyright 2011 Marianas Variety. All Rights Reserved

Go back to Pacific Islands Report