By Nancy I. Maanao
Seaport general manager Rory Respicio told a panel of senators Tuesday that former manager Joanne Brown "also believes in second chances."
Case by case and without naming people, Mr. Respicio recited summaries of the criminal histories of four people hired and promoted by Ms. Brown during her tenure as the seaport general manager during the Calvo administration.
Mr. Respicio admonished Ms. Brown, oversight chairwoman Sen. Telena Nelson, and other senators who had criticized the hiring of former criminals and suggested they did not deserve second chances. While Mr. Respicio disagreed with them and said second chances were suitable to his management style so long as an applicant beats out his or her competition by merit, he pointed out that the people criticizing him hired drug felons and thieves, and gave them third chances on the job.
These are the descriptions Mr. Respicio gave of four employees hired and promoted by Ms. Brown during the Calvo administration:
Case #1 –On October 16, 2017 the previous general manager hired an employee recently released from federal prison after serving time for drug importation convictions for his convictions of Conspiracy to Distribute more than 50 grams of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride, 21 U.S.C. §§841(a)(1) and 846. He remains on federal supervised probation and is currently employed at the Port.
Case #2 – Despite numerous criminal convictions and federal drug forfeitures and seizures, the former general manager hired this employee on April 9, 2015.
OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT INCIDENT: While this employee was still considered a casual employee without any merit protection he was arrested by port police on July 9, 2015 in connection with assault and official misconduct for an incident that occurred on the docks. This employee even wrote to the former general manager and offered “my sincerest apologies for my misconduct.” Despite his arrest for official misconduct with numerous police reports, witness statements and even the employee admitting to misconduct – the former General Manager did not terminate this employee and later permanized him as a full time employee. He resigned the following year and is no longer employed at the port.
Case #3 – Despite a police court certificate of search showing at least one criminal case and without a police clearance as is required and despite being named in federal drug forfeitures and seizure cases the former general manager hired this employee on April 9, 2015. On September 30, 2016 the previous general manager permanized this employee. He remains employed at the Port.
Case #4 - On June 26, 2013 the previous general manager hired an employee who was convicted in federal court of Theft of Government Property, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641.
OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT INCIDENT: While this employee was still on probationary status - on September 12, 2013 – he was arrested by Port police in connection with official misconduct, obstructing governmental function and making false reports. Despite his arrest for official misconduct, obstructing governmental function and making false reports and with numerous police reports and witness– the former General Manager did not terminate this employee and later permanized him as a full time employee following his probationary period. He remains employed at the port.
Kandit raises these issues, not to mock those who received second chances, but to display the hypocrisy of island leaders playing politics with this issue. We wholeheartedly believe in second chances, because, duh, we got one, too.