The latest Office of Public Accountability report placed the Mayors’ Council under scrutiny over the management of Guam Liberation activities. However, a council official says this is what they have been pushing for even prior to the audit.
The OPA wants to replace the Mayors’ Council with a new separate entity that will manage Guam liberation activities after its latest audit of the 75th Guam Island Fair and Liberation Day Carnival procurement uncovered a number of issues.
This latest audit found that the Liberation committee did not comply with procurement rules for purchases of major goods and services for the event.
Specifically, the audit found no procurement records for purchases totaling $234,000, and improper procurement methods were used for $66,000 worth of purchases.
In an interview with Patti Arroyo on K57, Mayors Council Executive Director Angel Sablan says the way current laws were written, the responsibility for the Guam Liberation Day activities falls under the purview of the council but they have been pushing for the Governor to find another body — such as GEDA or GVB — to oversee the festivities. Sablan also said that the council played a minimal role in the event.
“Last year, the 75th was also a special celebration. It was not really the MCOG that handled the festivities…it was led by the Lt. Governor, Speaker, and Mayor Savares The Mayors Council played a very minimal role in what was happening with the 75th Liberation Day festivities,” Sablan said.
He added: “We understand where the auditor is coming from but we also try to make them understand that if we continue to follow the way the statutes are …no entity is going to be able to meet what the statutes say….that’s why we recommended that we did the audit this year.”
In a separate interview, Chirag Bhojwani, the Speaker’s communications director, said Speaker Tina Muna Barnes was not involved in the 75th Liberation Day procurement process.