Parkinson wrong about pay for rank and file at utilities, says CCU’s Sanchez

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — A pay increase for the chief financial officer at the Guam Power Authority, one of three pay raises approved Wednesday by the Consolidated Commission on Utilities, drew criticism from Sen. William Parkinson, who said the CCU should reassess its decision and consider the message it sends to the public.

Parkinson noted that the pay raise approval comes while residents experience occasional rotating power outages due to current issues with generation capacity.

But another aspect of Parkinson’s grievance with the raise is outlined in his assertion that it is being granted while the CCU has “not given front-line workers the same consideration.”

That’s incorrect, according to Commissioner Simon Sanchez.

“GPA and (the Guam Waterworks Authority) utilize the public law originally authored by Sens. (Robert) Klitzkie and (Joanne) Brown in 2008 to pay certified technical professional wages for the unique job skills required of the utilities,” Sanchez told The Guam Daily Post in response to the senator’s remarks.

“Annual reviews and adjustments occur using a professionally surveyed wage study of similar-sized utilities in order to pay competitive wages to utility employees. This model is now being used by a number of autonomous agencies which also provide unique services requiring industry-specific skills, such as required by ports and utilities,” he added.

Currently, based on a 2022 wage study, the majority of utility employees fall between the 10th and 20th percentile, well below comparable utilities, Sanchez said.

“This study will be discussed at the next CCU meeting,” he added, further stating that GPA employees have received pay adjustments from savings generated from the base rate, which hasn’t changed since 2013.

Management pay raises also will “absolutely” have no impact on rates, as any adjustments are within the existing rate structure, Sanchez said.

While Sanchez commented on some aspects of Parkinson’s remarks, he said the CCU will reserve comment on any pay adjustments until management reviews are completed.

In addition to the GPA CFO, the CFO for the Guam Waterworks Authority and the attorney for the water utility were granted pay raises Wednesday after the completion of performance evaluations.

Reviews for the general managers of the utilities will be conducted later this month.

Sanchez also noted that the CCU’s approved pay raises so far range from 4% to 8%.

“Much lower than the 22% across-the-board pay raise Sen. Parkinson supported earlier this year for (government of Guam) employees,” the commissioner added.

Sanchez was referring to Bill 24-37, the funding measure for pay raises to government employees under the General Pay Plan and with the Judiciary of Guam. The controversial bill passed in March, with support from eight senators, Parkinson among them.

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