Hiring and pay raise spree at Adelup, public records show

Lou Leon Guerrero and Joshua Tenorio

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio went on an election-season hiring spree, then used public funds to gift their Adelup staff mega-thousand pay raises after they won re-election; all while hospital and public school finances were in crisis, and private sector workers struggle.

According to a comparison of staffing patterns between September 30, 2022 (right before the election), and the latest report, March 31, 2023, Leon Guerrero and Tenorio gave 43 of their 101 employees pay raises, none of which were below four-digit increases per annum. The pay raises total $332,685. That total does not include the cost to taxpayers of the benefits (retirement, insurance, etc.) attached to all those increases.

But that isn’t all that increased at taxpayer expense. The net payroll of the governor’s office increased from $4,956,465 before the General Election to $5,648,541 this past March 31, a $692,076 increase in personnel expenses before factoring in benefits. With benefits, the annual payroll expense increase is about $1 million. And that’s because the governor and lieutenant governor hired 18 highly-paid staffers between the periods before and after the election. Ten of those new staffers now are paid net annual pay of $50,000 or more. Three of those make more than the governor’s salary, and five are paid more than the lieutenant governor.

Nineteen of the governor’s office’s 101 employees, or nearly 20 percent of the staff, are paid more than Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio.

These pay raises do not include the pay raises given to cabinet members, which is a matter under research by Kandit and other media companies.

According to the notifications of personnel action of five governor’s office employees, authorized and signed by Ms. Leon Guerrero, increases in pay were authorized January 24, and made retroactive to January 1, 2023. Retroactive pay is against Guam law, and carries criminal penalties for any GovGuam official who authorizes such pay, and certifies the funds to make the payments.

Attorney General Douglas Moylan confirmed his office is investigating the matter, and also issued a stern warning to GovGuam’s certifying officers that they can go to prison if found guilty of violating the retroactive pay prohibition law. The $1 million payroll increase cost in pay raises happened in January, more than four months before rank and file classified GovGuam employees on the General Pay Plan received their 22 percent pay raises. Guam Department of Education employees on the GPP still are waiting for their pay raises. Acting superintendent of education Dr. Judith Won Pat issued a memo 10 days before the rest of the government received its raises, informing her employees their pay raises could not be paid because Adelup’s budget office had not released GDOE’s allotment for the increases.

The timing of the pay raises also fit the timeframe of when Guam Memorial Hospital began accruing more than $20 million in vendor payables that, now, are aging beyond 90 days.

The comparative spreadsheet of the pay of each Adelup employee before the election and as of March 31 this year follows:

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