Guam – Today Alvarez and Marsal was officially named the third party fiduciary agent to over see the millions of dollars of federal funds that will be released into Guam’s department of Education.
Governor Felix Camacho signed off on the contract.which now sets everything into motion to have needed funds released into the GDOE.
According to GDOE Superintendent Dr. Nerissa Underwood this is a big step towards getting the third party here and freeing up over 40 million dollars of federal dollars that have been placed on hold. The US DOE wanted Guam’s DOE to have a third-party financial manager in place to handle the bulk of DOE’s federal funds. The U.S. DOE and the third party will be here next week.
Underwood says, “U.S. DOE will be here to go over the responsibilities of GDOE and responsibilities of the third party. initially they are talking about having 4 people to come on board to get the operation going and there could be as many a 9 people that will be brought in.”
According to Underwood the process of getting the funds released is underway with the signing of this contract. BUt the U.S. DOE won’t released these federal funds until the third party is up and running and that could take between 30 to 60 days.
But the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff Shawn Gumataotao says, It’s taken over a year to get this contract signed and during this process the general fund subsidized the federal programs of GDOE, close to $20 million dollars.
According to Gumataotao, Because we have been subsidizing its made it hard to deliver services to other key areas throughout the government. This is something that could have been was avoided. GDOE could have been doing their part to make sure that federal funds were properly spent, but because of that, we have this situation.”
Gumataotao says, these federal funds will be used to improve the infrastructure to schools around the island and educational programs for the children. For the first 2 years the third party will be funded by arra programs . But years three and beyond will be up to the policy makers to budget the expenses and find the funds for the third party. Gumataotao says this is the same situation the U.S. Virgin Islands is in, they have a third party in place over the past 10 years.
Gumataotao says, ” This is a problem that won’t go away over night. He says for the first two years, the third party will will be covered by federal funds. But after that, it could cost between $3 to $5 million dollars a year. But this is the best road to take for the finances of GDOE, to make sure the federal funds are being spent on what they were intended for, on our kids.”