Respicio Asks AG To Explain Legality of Providing Health Benefits Without A Signed Contract

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Guam – Senator Rory Respicio is calling it “incredible” that GovGuam has gone for two years without a signed health insurance contract.

In a release, the Senator said that he has written to Attorney General John Weisenberger asking how is it legally permissible to expend public funds without a signed contract.

In his letter, Senator Respicio asked the AG for responses to seven questions:

1. Were the health care contracts for FY2009 and FY2010 signed by the Governor?

2. Were the contracts recorded and registered at the Dept. of Administration?

3. If the answer to no. 2 is yes, were they available for public inspection and copying?

4. If the answer to any of the three questions is “no,” then were the contracts void and unenforceable because they didn’t comply with Guam law?

5. Who within GovGuam certified that funds were available, and made payments for the health care contracts on behalf of the employees, retirees and dependents?

6. What legal authority justified payments by GovGuam toward the unexecuted (and invalid and unenforceable) health care contracts?

7. If the contracts of 2009 and 2010 are void and unenforceable, and the only health contract in effect was 2008, can GovGuam employees, retirees and/or dependents seek to recover payments made in excess of the premiums stated in the valid contract of 2008?

In his letter Respicio went no to say that: “the issues raised herein are of great and urgent public importance concerning approximately 12,000 individuals of our community.”

The Senator anticipates that the AG will provide a timely response.

Respicio adds, “my letter to General Weisenberger is more of an indictment on the current practices of this administration and its administrators. There are laws in place relative to the executing of contracts, to include the certification that these funds are available, and yet nothing seems to happen when these laws are being circumvented, or in most cases outright ignored. We have reviewed this letter with CPA Stan Wilson who also shares the same concern and will submit a similar letter to General Weisenberger.”

Read Respicio’s letter to the AG below:

September 29, 2010
John Weisenberger
Attorney General of Guam
287 West O’Brien Drive
Hagåtña, Guam 96910

Re: Government of Guam Health Care

Dear General Weisenberger:

It has come to my attention that the health care insurance contracts for Government of Guam employees, retirees and dependents for fiscal years 2009
and 2010 may not have been signed by the Governor.

Pursuant to Title 5 GCA §22601, “all contracts of whatever nature shall be executed upon the approval of the Governor.” This obviously implies that unless the Governor signs the particular contract thereby approving it, the contract cannot be “executed” or carried out. Further, upon execution, pursuant to Title 5 GCA §22602, the contract needs to be “submitted to the Department of Administration for filing, recording and registration.” A register of all contracts must also be “open and available” for public inspection and copying, and unless it is enrolled in the public register a contract is not “deemed valid or enforceable.”

Thus, I hereby request that your Office investigate the following:

1. Were the health care contracts for the Government of Guam and its beneficiaries for fiscal years 2009 and 2010 signed by the Governor?

2. Were the health care contracts for fiscal years 2009 and 2010 filed, recorded and registered at the Department of Administration?

3. If the answer to question no. 2 is yes, were the contracts for the fiscal years 2009 and 2010 available for inspection and copying by the public?

4. If the answer to any of the preceding questions was “no,” then were not these contracts void and unenforceable because of failure to comply with Guam law?

5. Who within the Government of Guam certified that the funds were available and made payments towards the 2009 and 2010 health care contracts on
behalf of the employees, retirees and dependents?

6. What legal authority justified payments being made by the Government of  Guam toward the unexecuted (and invalid and unenforceable) health care
contracts of 2009 and 2010?

7. If the contracts of 2009 and 2010 are void and unenforceable, and the only health contract in effect was that of 2008, can Government employees, retirees and/or dependents seek to recover their premium payments that were made in excess of the premiums contained in the valid contract of 2008?
As the issues raised herein are of great and urgent public importance concerning approximately 12,000 individuals of our community, we anticipate a timely response from your office. Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.

Very truly yours,

Rory J. Respicio