Democrat Sen. Chris Barnett, the chairperson of the Legislative Committee on Education, welcomed the news of the Guam Department of Education’s transition out of the third-party fiduciary agent going “as planned.”
In a statement to the Pacific News Center, he said, “It is great news. It has been a long hard road, and at times people thought it would be impossible for GDOE to ever shake the third-party overseer. We’re not there yet, but I’m encouraged by how close we are and i’ll continue to pray for the department to get where it needs to.”
It was more than a month ago on April 1 when the U.S. Department of Education placed GDOE on probation to remove the third-party fiduciary agent.
As PNC previously reported, Judith Won Pat, the acting superintendent of GDOE, told the Pacific News Center that all has been smooth sailing.
“What we are doing of course is following the transition plan and they want to always hear from us on a monthly basis on how we are doing,” said Won Pat. “We started transferring information from the third-party agent system over to the local system. That is the main progress and transition that is currently happening. So far, so good. We will hear once they get it after this weekend and when they review it they will let us know and share their thoughts of what we should and should not be doing.”
This removal has been two decades in the making as U.S. DOE classified GDOE a high-risk grantee because of poor management and spending of federal funds in September 2003. This required GDOE to retain services of independent fiduciary agents for grant funding it received.
GDOE’s third-party fiduciary agent has been Alvarez & Marsal Public Sector Services since 2009, which the island’s largest government of Guam agency pays more than $2 million a fiscal year for its services, according to PNC files.