Guam – Encouraging transparency, addressing the scarcity of manpower and ensuring an upgraded E911 system are priorities set by newly appointed Chief of the Guam Fire Department, Daniel C. Stone on NewsTalk K57’s Mornings with Patti.
“As I’m doing my rounds through the fire houses, which is one of my top priorities, to make sure I get out there as soon as possible to go visit all the men and women of the fire department, where they live. I want them to know I am accessible… Also when we engage our firefighters as well, we say listen don’t hold back… I want you to let chief know what some of your concerns, issues and needs are. So it’s that kind of transparency that we want to have with the department so that they know that we are working for them” says Chief Stone.
In addition, with roughly 40 firefighters less than the 330 needed at GFD, the fire Chief hopes to fill several vacancies within the ranks of the department to include vacancies at the Emergency Dispatch Department as well as support staffing. The successes of which fall vulnerable to the General Fund.
In tackling the lingering controversy that is the needed upgrade to the E911 system Chief Stone states, “The good thing about that is, that with Governor Leon Guerrero’s commitment to return about $3.8 million dollars back into the E911 Fund, where previously what was gonna happen is that we would have to do a lease program for the new next gen E911 system. We will be positioned to be able to purchase it out right. So a huge difference in that. Cut some cost savings with that. And then we also have enough money for the maintenance program for it.”
With roughly 4 months left before the illegally transferred $3.8 million must be returned into the E911 Fund, the clock is ticking for former Department of Administration Directors Benita Manglona and Christine Baleto, who were ordered by the Public Utilities Commission to ensure the return or fork up $10,000 dollars for each infraction.
The PUC also named the late Tony Blas as the third individual involved in the unlawful transfer of the $3.8 million dollars out of the E911 funds and into the General Fund, between 2014 and 2017.