Emergency procurement bill gets support

John Thomas Brown, procurement expert testifies at the Legislature. (Still image from the Guam Legislature)

Guam – Bill 90-35, which allows the governor to authorize emergency procurement when facing threats to the environment, received supportive testimony during its public hearing Wednesday morning.

Introduced by Senator Sabina Flores Perez, Bill 90-35 authorizes the governor to act sooner when facing serious environmental threats, rather than waiting and having to justify that an environmental threat poses public health or safety risks.

In her opening remarks during the public hearing, Senator Perez said the environment should be afforded the same protections as public health and safety.

Testifying in favor of the bill was procurement expert John Thomas Brown. He said he supports the bill because it adds an environmental perspective to emergency procurement

Brown said Bill 90-35 also gives teeth to the punishment of procurement violations because it has a clause that makes contracts void.

In the past, Brown said there have been many instances of procurement contracts being abused.

Oftentimes, Brown said it’s just a matter of government neglect and lack of planning as GovGuam fails to make plans on what to do after a contract expires and just resorts to emergency procurement.

Edward Birn, the director of the Department of Administration, also testified in favor of the legislation, saying that Bill 90-35 defines emergency procurement more closely.

Birn also said that emergency procurement should be limited to real emergencies and if procurement is just stalled or failed due to administrative lapses, then this should not be considered an emergency procurement.

Birn suggested, though, that language in the bill about voiding contracts should be changed to voiding contract solicitations instead.

In closing, Senator Sabina Perez said Bill 90-35 will go a long way towards improving GovGuam’s ability to respond quickly to environmental emergencies.