JKPL board, staff reach ‘temporary compromise’


Staff of the Joeten Kiyu Public Library and the board of the state library have reached a compromise: Employees will continue to work while JKPL executive director John Gonzales would stay away—for now—from the library’s premises.

JKPL staff, Gonzales, board members, and Office of Personnel Management met yesterday at 9:30am but, according to sources, it was not until close to 5pm that board members reached a “temporary compromise” with library staff.

Various sources said the compromise means employees would resume work today, Feb. 24, without the presence of Gonzales for “a while.”

Sources added that the JKPL board will look deeper into the matter that led to a JKPL staff walkout last Ash Wednesday.

When sought for comment, JKPL staff said they were told to “keep silent” until a formal public notice is issued.

Sources also said that attorney Pam Brown, despite her appearance before the meeting, was not allowed to attend the meeting itself.

Last Wednesday morning, board members intervened after library employees were found sitting outside the library’s parking lot and refusing to enter the library and resume work. The staff walkout was reportedly triggered by a shouting match between an employee and Gonzales during an informal staff meeting in the morning.

Staff alleged that they walked out because of a “climate of fear.” Other allegations included Gonzales obtaining information from the transition report of staff comments that were supposed to be confidential.

No access to transition interviews

In a separate interview, press secretary Ivan Blanco doubts if the staff actually saw Gonzales reading the transition report or having it on hand.

“For my part, the transition reports were delivered to my office in sealed boxes. My office is always kept locked. When I heard about the incident that the staff walked out at JKPL, that’s when I opened JKPL’s box for the report. Whoever got that transition report, [he or she] gave it to John prior to transitioning or prior to it being delivered to me,” Blanco said.

When asked if Gonzales was allowed to review the report, Blanco said there is a summary of the transition report made available to the public, while other parts of the report such as staff interviews could not be reviewed.

“They are allowed to review the summary report, but not staff interview notes, in order for staff to speak freely and honestly on what to do to improve their working environment or how best to provide better services to the public, and how to become efficient. The staff expressed their feelings about management, how their process at work could be improved, or be efficient. So I don’t know how he got the report,” Blanco said.

When asked who was on the transition team for JKPL, Blanco said he could not remember. The names of the JKPL transition team could not be obtained as of press time.

JKPL staff told media last week that they would like a formal investigation into Gonzales’ use of petty cash, education tax credit funding, and purchase orders, among others.

Jayson Camacho | Reporter
Jayson Camacho covers community events, tourism, and general news coverages. Contact him at jayson_camacho@saipantribune.com.

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.