FESTPAC Funding short by about $1.7 Million Dollars.
Guam – FESTPAC is 69 days away and they are short funding. Meanwhile there are concerns with how the FESTPAC organizers are going to be using the money and whether or not they are violating procurement processes. Two weeks ago the Public Auditor told PNC that she is currently auditing FESTPAC funds because of a hotline tip she received.
“We didn’t reach the seven million dollar cash that was set forth by this committee in 2013 as the budget for this event,” said FESTPAC committee chairman Nate Denight. Denight says they’ve only collected $5.3 million dollars in cash and they have a $7 million dollar cash budget. This budget does not include in-kind contributions.
However today’s concerns mostly dealt with the handling of cash and following the procurement process. Senator Rory Respicio questioned the use of an event coordinator. A company called Adztech was awarded the contract as event coordinator via an RFP. The concern however is that in addition to coordinating the event Adztech may be handling most of the procurement. “I think you just found a way to circumvent the procurement law. FESTPAC is the event specialist gonna spend up to $4.2 million? At the end of FESTPAC? $4.2 million dollars is gonna be for lack of a better word funneled through the event specialist. Is that the thinking?” said Respicio adding, “The contract for the event management services was cleared by the A.G.’s office yeah for the services to be the coordinator to do all these services but if the coordinator is going to be the one spending I mean so this entity can just say I’m going to get this company and I’m gonna give them $50 thousand dollars and get the generators. I’m gonna get this company and I’m gonna spend $105 thousand dollars.”
Senator Respicio says he concerned that by funneling money through the event coordinator the procurement process is being circumvented. Denight disagreed saying that the event coordinator contract was awarded through an RFP. “Can we agree on one thing that this is taxpayer money?” said Respicio. “Yeah I one hundred percent agree,” said Denight. “If we agree to that the next thing is can we agree that the tax payer money should be subject to procurement law?” asked Respicio. “Yes I one hundred percent agree with you. Why don’t we double check I mean these are good questions,” replied Denight.
Respicio is particularly concerned because the Public Auditor Doris Flores Brooks is currently auditing FESTPAC. In fact the OPA told PNC two weeks ago that a two phased audit was being conducted to ensure that procurement processes are being followed. Brooks said the audit was prompted by some “hotline tips.”
“I just wanna make sure that we do it. We do it right and that we don’t come back and have to ratify anything based on legislation and all that because we have accepted the fact that we are using government funds,” said Barnes.
At Senator Respicio’s request the committee agreed to seek advice from legal counsel as well as Gov Guam’s chief procurement officer to ensure that the procurement process is being followed.