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REPORT: PacStar payment could fund hazard pay owed to public health nurses three times

By Nancy I. Maanao

(Tumon, Guam) The amount of money the governor is ordering her budget and cash directors to pay the Pacific Star Hotel is triple the amount estimated is owed to public health nurses for the seven weeks they haven't been paid hazard pay.

According to the Department of Public Health and Social Services staffing pattern, which is found online, DPHSS employs fewer than 50 licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, community health nurses, and nurse practitioners. At an average of $25 per hour at 25 percent hazard pay, these nurses - considering all of them worked the public health emergency - are owed $6.25 for every hour they worked in hazard pay.

Nurses on Tuesday protested at the ITC intersection in Tamuning after receiving a check for their hazard pay that covers only one of the last eight weeks they have worked the public health emergency. According to LPN Lyanne Mendiola, many of the nurses have been working from Monday through Saturday, but are not paid at all for the work they do on Saturdays.

Fifty nurses paid $6.25 an hour for 560 hours worked from Monday to Friday the past eight weeks equals $175,000. That is less than one third the amount Ms. Leon Guerrero is ordering to be paid to the Pacific Star Hotel - $544,000. The hotel has a 2016 $32 million mortgage with the Bank of Guam, which her family owns.

It was the governor's son in law and legal counsel, Haig Huynh, who negotiated the use for and cost to the government of Guam for the PacStar.

While the governor has said absolutely nothing about the hazard pay owed to her public health nurses, on May 8 she ordered Lester Carlson, her budget director, and Ed Birn, her cash director, to pay the Pacific Star Hotel immediately.

(Speaker Tina Muna Barnes joined nurses and other health care workers Tuesday to demand the governor pay them what they have earned. This video was provided to Kandit courtesy of the Speaker's office.)

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