By Jacob Nakamura
During the global pandemic, while GovGuam forced you to sacrifice, several of the University of Guam's highest-ranking officers received two pay raises. Kandit thus far has exposed five-digit pay raises of four administrators, who are paid with the taxes you and the American citizen pays to fund UOG's closed classrooms.
Here's the fifth in our ongoing series on UOG's pay raises during the pandemic.
Mark Duarte, the UOG financial aid director, started 2020 off with a $69,760 annual base salary. Today, and after two pay raises, you now are paying Mr. Duarte $82,405 a year.
His 18 percent salary bump within a one-year time span took effect March 29, 2021, according to personnel documents UOG released to Kandit following a Freedom of Information Act request for information. His first pay raise in this period took effect April 26, 2020 at the height of the public health emergency and while UOG was shut down.
"This pay adjustment is in accordance with BOR Resolution No. 20-02, approved by the BOR Chairperson and President, adopted February 13, 2020," the personnel record indicates.
That resolution, signed by then-Board of Regents chairman Elvin Chiang, and attested by UOG president Dr. Thomas Krise as the pandemic was engulfing the world and making its way to Guam, states UOG's forward movement with a 2019 plan to increase administrators's salaries.
This 2019 plan came one year after Duarte's office mistakenly released personal private information of about 150 UOG students, to include their social security numbers, grant information, and financial data. The university scrambled to help students, in case any bad actors used the information to rob students of their money or identity, which is an ongoing concern. Evidently, UOG saw it fit to give two pay raises to the man in charge of that office.
"The BOR approves the enclosed updated salary pay scale for administrators and position descriptions that aligns with the proposed Para Hulo Strategic Plan and restructure of the UOG Organizational Chart," the resolution reads. "The president retains authorization to develop a plan for implementing the salary scale when funds are available."
The issue of the availability of those funds may have driven UOG's intention to raise tuition on students in the middle of the pandemic.
Mr. Duarte leads the office responsible for the administration of student financial aid, and is supposed to help UOG students to afford the cost of college there. UOG, ironically, proposed to increase student tuition as it was giving out these pay raises, and told senators in the Guam Legislature the reason for the increase was to pay its personnel costs.
UOG quickly abandoned its plan to raise student tuition following the first story in this series, which exposed the salary increase of its spokesman, Jonas Macapinlac. Mr. Macapinlac and the others whom Kandit has featured, now make more money than the governor and lieutenant governor of Guam, thanks to the taxpayers who footed the bill for their two pay raises.
Despite news of these outlandish pay increases, the Guam Legislature has done nothing to question UOG's practices, or to curb the autonomy it has that has led to its runaway spending.