By Jacob Nakamura
"Do as I say, not as I do" seems to be the official policy of the 36th Guam Legislature when it comes to a Drug Free Workplace as senators did not take a drug test prior to employment and they did not require one of their employees although it is required.
The I Liheslaturan Guåhan DRUG FREE WORKPLACE POLICY was adopted by legislative resolution in 2013 and established the policy for the legislature. The policy was for the legislature as an entity and not directed to just the legislature that was in office for those two years. Because it was adopted in session unanimously and has never been repealed or replaced then the policy stands.
Chirag M. Bhojwani, Director of Communications and Policy for Senator Tina Muna Barnes who oversees the Committee on Rules, at first told Kandit News that nobody was drug tested because “Our rules don’t require it as a condition of employment.” We then pointed out to Bhojwani that there actually is a policy in place that requires it for the Legislature.
Bhojwani then changed his excuse for why none of the senators and legislative employees were drug tested as a condition of employment as is required of all new government of Guam employees.
“Yes, the policy says that, but it’s never been funded,” Bhojwani said.
But again, Bhojwani would appear to be intentionally misleading the public. Or possibly getting bad communication “spin” from the new Executive Director Carlo J. Branch. Bhojwani and Branch both know that their Policy does not require any funding at all to enforce the pre-employment drug screening requirement.
In fact, the I Liheslaturan Guåhan DRUG FREE WORKPLACE POLICY states “Upon selection for employment with I Liheslatura Guahan, you must take and pass urinalysis testing for illegal use of drugs. All applicants/employees are responsible for all expenses incurred for this examination. Failure to submit to drug testing will result in immediate disqualification or disciplinary action.”
This means that all senators, including Senator Joanne Brown who has been so critical of the Port for their work to enforce the Port’s Drug Free Workplace Policy, is in fact violating her own Drug Free Workplace Policy. And because Senator Brown and her staff did not submit to a drug test prior to her new employment on January 4, 2021, Senator Brown is now subject to “immediate disqualification or disciplinary action.”
The Legislature’s legally adopted Drug Free Workplace Policy states, “It is within the halls of this dignified institution that the laws governing Guam are most respected, and fervently protected and upheld. Employees play a critical role in the legislative process and are the Guam Legislatures most valuable resources and, therefore, their health and safety are is a serious concern. I Liheslatura will not tolerate illegal use of drugs or abuse of alcohol which imperils the health and well-being of its employees or threatens the Legislature’s ability to properly fulfill its obligation to the people of Guam as mandated by law.”
The Drug Free Workplace Policy further states that it is the policy of I Liheslaturan Guåhan to maintain a leadership and workforce free of the illegal use of drugs and abuse of alcohol.
It should be noted that the I Liheslaturan Guåhan DRUG FREE WORKPLACE POLICY was adopted in 2013 following a drug raid at the house of two men who at that time were working for a senator in the Guam Legislature. Those two men still work at the Legislature and one of them holds a very powerful position. The drug raid in 2013 happened at the house of current Executive Director of the 36th Guam Legislature Carlo J. Branch. His roommate was arrested during the raid and is currently employed at the Office of Senator Jose Terlaje.