Hires and fires, cuts and raises: a look at the Legislature's staffing pattern

by Ken Wetmore, KUAM News
Monday, October 04, 2004

In the Guam Legislature, all the senators except for one, Senator Carmen Fernandez, are running for reelection. It's important to remember when you hear the phrase "annual payroll", as such denotes how much the senator or senators would spend if the senator made no changes for the next year. It does not necessarily mean that's how much they spent over the last year.

With the 27th Guam Legislature's time quickly coming to an end and an election less than a month away, KUAM News decided to take a look at how Guam's senators are spending your money when it comes to payroll. The last time KUAM reviewed staffing patterns for the Legislature was at the end of April of this year. After requesting KUAM file a Freedom of Information Act request, the Legislature provided its staffing pattern, current as of September 13.

Vice-Speaker Frank Aguon, Jr. tops the list for most money spent on payroll when you combine his office's payroll with that of the Office of Finance and Budget. In all the Vice-Speaker divvies up $331,000 among ten employees, with a little over $100,000 being split between Aguon's chief of staff and the director of the OFB.

Coming in a close second for largest payroll is Democrat senator Rory Respicio, who employees fourteen and pays out over $320,000 annually. $5,000 behind Senator Respicio is Senator John Quinata at over $315,000 for twelve employees. Democrat Tina Muna-Barnes also employees twelve employees but she is fourth on the list because her annual payroll for her twelve employees is over $35,000 less than Quinata at just under $280,000.

Coming in fifth is the aforementioned Senator Fernandez, who spends around $222,000 on ten employees. Senator Randy Cunliffe is sixth, spending just under $200,000 on seven employees. Seventh is Senator Toni Sanford, also with seven employees but only spending about $186,000.

The first Republican senator to show up on the list is Senator Jesse Anderson Lujan, who employees six with an annual payroll of just over $174,000. Majority Leader Senator Lou Leon Guerrero has one more employee than Senator Lujan, but under $160,000 annually to her seven employees. About $14,000 behind the Democrat Majority Leader is freshman Republican Ray Tenorio, spending $145,000 annually and employing five staffers.

Minority Leader Senator Mark Forbes pays out over $143,000 annually to his four employees, putting the Republican at number eleven. Number twelve is Republican Larry Kasperbauer, employing three and spending just under $125,000.

Speaker Ben Pangelinan is your most miserly Democrat, and likewise nearly your most tightfisted senator at #13. Those in his employ total four, bringing in an aggregate payroll of over $103,000. Republican Joanne Brown sits at #14 with two employees and an annual payroll of just over $170,000. Your most frugal senator in terms of payroll is Republican Robert Klitzkie, whose two employees and annual payroll has not wavered from $65,000 since taking office.

As for who has increased their annual payroll over the last five months, six Democrats and one Republican make the list. Senator Respicio tops the list adding over $113,000 to his payroll over the last five months. The freshman Democrat got the number one spot by also taking the number one spot on the most increased staff list with four new employees.

Second is fellow Democrat Fernandez who has increased her staff by two and her payroll by over $42,000. Coming in third is the lone Republican Jesse Anderson Lujan who has increased his payroll by just under $17,000. The freshman Republican's increase comes from being one of four senators to give raises. Lujan gave one employee a $12,000+ raise and two other employees raises of just over $2,000.

Senator Quinata is another senator who has handed out raises. In fact, he handed out the most money in raises at just over $24,000 to two employees. However, Quinata also reduced his staff by one employee, the net result of the decrease in staff and pay raises was an $11,000 increase on his total payroll. Senator Muna-Barnes is #5 on the list of senators who increased their payroll.

The Legislature's secretary increased her staff by one but is the only senator to actually give a pay cut to an employee over the last five months. At the end of the day Senator Muna-Barnes payroll increased by just over $8,000. Democrat Senator Toni Sanford is sixth on the list for increased payroll with a jump of $5,345.

While the senator's number of staff has remained static at the seventh, there have been some new arrivals and departures that account for the increased payroll. While Democrat Senator Randy Cunliffe had a net loss of one employees, departures and new additions along with a nearly $6,000 raise resulted in Senator Cunliffe taking the final spot among senators who's payrolls have increased, with a net increase of just under $3,000.

There are four senators who decreased their payroll. Republican Senator Mark Forbes made the most drastic cut at just under $80,000, the steep decline is due to the senator reducing his staff by two. Vice-Speaker Aguon saw a reduction of $52,000. The reduction comes from the Democrat having two fewer employees in his Office of Finance and Budget.

Senator Leon Guerrero reduced her annual payroll by exactly $52,000 and also reduced her office staff by two. Speaker Pangelinan is the final senator to reduce their annual payroll. The Speaker lost and did not replace one employee resulting in a $26,000 deduction.

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