With the lack of funding, the island’s 12 senior centers will no longer be operated by the Mayors’ Council of Guam.
The MCOG said that it will no longer run sernior centers by the end of the fiscal year, which wraps up in September 2023, if there aren’t enough funds allotted to continue operations.
The 12 senior centers across the island are operated by the MCOG, through a memorandum of understanding with the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services.
Art San Agustin, the director of DPHSS, responds during an interview on Newstalk K57 on April 20 with Patti Arroyo. He said that an option discussed with Piti Mayor Jesse Alig, who’s also the MCOG President, funds will be provided accordingly to reports of needs by the council.
“We did meet in January,” said San Agustin. “There were two options. The one option which I was surprised we were not aware that we were gonna discuss (Thursday) was to reach out to each individual mayor and work out an MOU with each mayor as opposed to what we have today which is a contract for MCCOG for the operations of the senior center program.”
Earlier this year, the MCOG discussed that although the body does want to keep senior centers open, it cannot continue on with the lack of funding as the mayors provide the resources.
Alig said the MCOG can’t continue handling the centers as the mayors might have too much on their plate.
During that meeting, Anthony Chargualaf, the mayor of Inalahan, said that the only option is to negotiate with DPHSS to provide more resources, if senior centers continue operations.
San Agustin added that DPHSS did survey the village mayors prior to the discussion and asked if they would like to continue, which resulted in most of them saying yes.
But the concern was whether there will be sufficient funding, which is why the Division Of Senior Citizens, under DPHSS, will be meeting with each mayor to lay out the cost per center.
With about five months left until the September 30th deadline, it was decided during an MCOG meeting yesterday that they will revisit this topic with further plans.
In response to the deadline, Alig was surprised because he wasn’t prevued to the information.
“Our executive director (Angel Sablan) said we were giving it up in September, … I have not heard anything about this,” said Alig. “Here I am waiting just waiting to hear what the situation is, what the status is, what the update is of the centers. I was assuming that a decision had been made, i had not sign anything, I have not even reviewed anything and I only want to sign something that shows if the mayors council is going to resume the program or continue the program and that we receive every single penny that we need including personnel.”