By Troy Torres
(Tumon, Guam) Hundreds of Commonwealth government employees were not paid yesterday, and Gov. Ralph Torres's administration decided to say nothing about it.
Employees with Bank of Guam personal accounts received their paychecks through direct deposit Friday, but hundreds whose direct deposit accounts are with other banks did not receive their checks until today.
Sources within the government tell Kandit News that a system glitch caused the problem.
The supposed error comes on the heels of another cut in working hours for so-called 'non-essential' government employees and the Public School System in order for the administration to contend with a $40 - $50 million budget shortfall this fiscal year.
Sources report that Mr. Torres held a cabinet meeting Thursday, when he informed agency heads of the fiscal situation and his plans to begin calling them in one by one to meet at the Governor's Office starting Monday to assess what can be cut.
The shortfall, if not contained either by a corresponding and ruinous budget cut, revenue increase, bond financing, or combination of these solutions, will produce yet another deficit to add to an accumulated deficit that matches an entire year's worth of operational revenues.
A tally of the annual deficits since Fiscal Year 2017 through to the Secretary of Finance's December 31, 2019 report (adjusted downward due to an accounting error) to the Legislature of FY 2019 unaudited financials yields a $122 million accumulated deficit, which is 97 percent of operational revenues.
A deficit of this proportionate magnitude is crippling for the government's cash management abilities and likely is the reason for the trickling payments of tax refunds, not to mention the growing aging of vendor payables.
Was cash flow the reason for the payless payday on Friday? Only a review of the government's unrestricted bank accounts balances on that day can answer that question. The House Ways and Means committee, headed by Congressman Ivan Blanco can best facilitate such a review through his committee's oversight authority and power to subpoena the documents.