- More Shenanigans at the Airport – Seems the airport recently allowed a number of employees to resign, cash out their accumulated leave, then rehired the employees at the same pay grade. The positions were never announced, no other applications were taken and the employees faced no other applicants for the job. Airport Executive Manager Gerry Yingling defended this policy by saying that everybody else was doing it, so the airport did it too. Of course this is the guy that last week was defending his government credit card expenses at strip clubs as culturally acceptable here on Guam. This comes just days after the revelation that the airport is paying the salaries of 70 employees that should have lost their jobs a year ago when their agency was disbanded.
- Fraud and Payroll Abuse at the Prison – With what’s turning out to be a regular occurrence, the public auditor released another audit damning another GovGuam agency. This time the Department of Corrections was cited for repeated abuse of overtime and hazardous pay for corrections officers, at times tripling the base salary of prison guards. Most troubling is the lack of corroborating documentation that all these extra hours were actually worked. The warden at the prison violently defended his honor on KUAM News Monday night, pulling out a shiv and making predictions of violence if his staff did not continue to get this extra pay.
- GovGuam to Reduce Holidays – In a stunning display of intelligence, the Guam Legislature yesterday voted to reduce the number of GovGuam Holidays from 16 to 10. It’s about time. GovGuam workers receive an inordinate number of holidays. Perhaps this was acceptable at one time, but it just promotes waste and abuse now. November sported four holidays for GovGuam this year, All Soul’s Day, Election Day, Veteran’s Day, and Thanksgiving. I work in the private sector and I only get 9 holidays. From New Year’s to Memorial I get none at all, during that same 5 month stretch GovGuam has 5 holidays.
- Low Water Pressure Continues – Guam Waterworks just can’t seem to keep the water flowing. This has been a problem for years; it reached critical meltdown shortly after Typhoon Chata’an in July. Some villages are without water for months now. Asan is particularly hard hit. School has been cancelled at Southern High School time and again due to no water. Waterworks lacks the money to do anything permanent about these outages, and no planning at all is done for future demand. This will reach crisis proportions before long. I caught a report on KUAM a couple weeks ago that showed how water from Asan Springs is going to waste, running down to the sea through storm sewers because Waterworks has stopped treating the water from this spring. And the very village this spring is located within has no water pressure. It’s a disgrace.
- Convicted Felon Still in Office – Jonathan Toves still sits on the school board, and no action is underway to remove this guy from office. In order to oust him a recall election needs to be held and two thirds of those that voted for him must choose to get rid of him. Looks like apathy wins this time as nobody has the time or energy to mount a petition drive to hold the special election. Score one for the felon.
- Feds Seize Department of Education Documents – a story broke a couple months ago about how the Department of Education had dozens of brand new air conditioners sitting in storage while students sweltered in classrooms. Now it looks like the Feds are interested in how all those air conditioners were procured. I suspect another scandal brewing over this one.
- More Dirt on Department of Education – Another DOE story that’s hit the headlines concerns several promotions given to DOE employees that were close relatives of DOE’s director and chief superintendent. These promotions were all approved last month on Election Day (a holiday – see above), and they came after DOE informed teacher’s that there was no money to pay for merit increases owed to the teacher’s.
- Terra Cotta Soldiers to Highlight Exhibit – Finally some good news. An exhibit opens December 15th at the DFS Galleria featuring the renowned terra cotta soldiers of ancient China. Cool. That’s on my must-see list.
- Batten Down the Hatches – Looks like a tropical storm or typhoon will head towards Guam by this weekend. Great, more lousy weather. Hope it doesn’t turn into a typhoon. That would be a repeat of Typhoon Paka in 1997. That storm ruined Christmas for a great many people.
Well that’s it. I am trying to reference stories beyond the PDN, specifically on KUAM and Marianas Variety, but both sites present difficulties. KUAM has a nice Google Search capability, but they only keep archivesof the television broadcasts. I’d prefer the text, not the streaming video. And Marianas Variety doesn’t seem to have anything beyond the current stories on the front page. Until that happens I am loathe to post any links to Marianas Variety. That sucks, since Marianas Variety has a number of quality editorials and regional coverage that I’d love to link.