Patrick Lujan, the former deputy state historic preservation officer appointed by the governor to serve as acting SHPO, said he takes his new responsibility of “stewardship” very seriously and he is looking forward to getting back to work in preserving the historical resources of the island.
In an interview with Phill Leon Guerrero on K57, Lujan said he will be very objective and the fact that he was formerly in the military won’t affect his performance in his new job.
Some have criticized Lujan’s military background, including Robert Koss, of the Guam Federation of Teachers, who’s representing former SHPO Lynda Aguon.
Lujan is a U.S. Air Force Reserve Major and the Deputy Commander of the 44th Aerial Port Squadron.
Lujan said he sees no conflict between his ties with the military and his new job.
“I’m known to be firm but fair. It doesn’t matter what my background is or what my opinion is. My personal opinion will not matter in this job,” Lujan said during the K-57 interview.
He added: “As a matter of fact, my military background may be helpful in this position because it would be helpful in understanding the other side, so to speak.”
Lujan served as Deputy SHPO from 2007 to 2010. During that time, he championed efforts for responsible development, evidenced by the successful passage of Public Law 29-147.
This law increased the penalties for unauthorized clearing of land from a misdemeanor to a third-degree felony.
In addition, Lujan also served as Vice President of the Micronesian Endowment for Historic Preservation and is trained in Section 106 procedures as well as in the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) process.
In appointing Lujan as the acting SHPO, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said she realized that this is an important time for Guam with increasing military construction activities and also private development.
“Our community needs confidence that the work of the Historic Resources Division is preserving Guam’s past and protecting our future. Patrick is trained in the federal laws and regulations that govern historic preservation, and I trust that he will hold developers accountable for their actions, both inside and outside the fence,” the governor said in her statement announcing Lujan’s appointment.
For his part, Lujan said he is humbled by the governor’s trust in him.
“I am looking forward to rejoining the hardworking staff at the Historic Resources Division. They are great public servants, and we have a serious responsibility to ensure that agreements and laws are being followed and there’s a lot of work ahead,” Lujan said.