For years, the Guam Ethics Commission has existed only on paper and, more recently, as a campaign promise during Governor Lou Leon Guerrero’s run for office.
Now, the commission looks to be only a few short months away from being fully functional.
First established by public law in 1996, it wasn’t until 2019 that commission members were actually appointed.
Lacking money, the commission wasn’t able to do anything until the Bureau of Budget Management and Research was able to identify unused funds from another agency.
The pandemic slowed things down but commission chairperson Shannon Murphy says they plan to be able to start accepting complaints around June or July.
Along with finding office space, building a website, developing SOPs to process complaints, and hiring an executive director, Murphy says one of the commission’s priorities is to review and update GovGuam’s rules on ethics.
“The senators have told us that since this is something that was written so long ago, once we get the executive director in place we’re really going to be reviewing that and thinking about maybe there are more things that need to be added to that because they might have to amend the law..because there’s nothing to do with the internet or anything on there. It’s that old,” Murphy said.
Murphy says another priority is to start a public education campaign.
She says she wants to make sure everybody understands the ethics law before the commission starts accepting complaints.
“We have to develop this public education campaign and then implement it before we..and when we’re doing that, and then we’ll be building the website and figuring out our SOPs and stuff and then..once that happens, I think it’s going to be good for everybody. Everyone will feel better about the government of Guam and people are aware of what these things are and that they can say something about them and get some action if there’s something going on that they think is irregular. And so it’ll make a better government of Guam, a better island of Guam. I think it’ll be good for all of us,” Murphy said.