Bob quixote and the job-factory dragon

By Dave Davis

SEVERAL months ago Senator Bob Klitzkie developed and proposed, in Bill 147, a blueprint for streamlining and right-sizing GovGuam. It would give the Governor the latitude needed to affect needed reorganizations, while observing the merit system and protecting the rights of GovGuam employees. It contained a proposed listing of high and low priority areas, acknowledging that some of the approximately eighty-one GovGuam agencies wouldn’t make the cut. Like other Republican-sponsored bills, it was ignored by the Democratic majority. That Bill now needs to be dusted off and resurrected. Like Bob, I see no justification for so many government agencies to serve a population base of less than 150,000.

It’s ridiculous. We could readily dispense with a couple of dozen agencies and be the better for it. It’s long been glaringly obvious that something must be done to cut GovGuam personnel costs. Nevertheless, legislative Democrats continue to promise prosperity just around the corner (first heard from then-Governor Gutierrez several years ago), opposing any meaningful attempt at government reorganization. They continue to defend unjustifiable revenue projections while refusing to acknowledge or address things like the EITC obligation, now poised to demolish legislative financial projections. They say the initial $3 million is already set aside—maybe so. How about the $1.5 million per month stipulated in the infamous “50% agreement”? Where is this annual additive of $18 million coming from, assuming that figure doesn’t balloon to something like $35 or $40 million as a result of actions now before the courts? Under Guam public law 25-43, EITC payouts come from the same pot as tax refunds and child tax credits, and there’s no provision whatsoever for it in the ’05 budget.

Thomas Henry Huxley wrote: “Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you ought to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not. However early a man’s training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly.”

It’s a shame that some elected officials haven’t learned that, and apparently lack the wit to realize the wisdom of it. In the quest to perpetuate the GovGuam job factory, and through fear of losing votes, they choose to withhold and misdirect critical funding, injuring all in the process. It’s high time to acknowledge that every GovGuam activity and agency isn’t equally important in the grand scheme of things. We should apply Senator Bob’s triage solution to address priorities, and axe whatever remains when the money runs out.

The way I see it, Bob Klitzkie is the rational voice in the GovGuam wilderness, and just maybe the only member of the Guam legislature with the vision and the will to place the good of the community ahead of political patronage and hunger for re-election.


More Articles in November 2004