Speaker Cruz calls oversight hearing on DOA for cash shortfall

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Speaker B.J. Cruz will hold an oversight hearing on the Department of Administration to get to the bottom of the education cash shortfall.

Guam – According to a release from the Speaker the oversight hearing is needed to determine the status of cash releases to UOG, GCC and GDOE. The Speaker recently received word from UOG President Dr. Robert A. Underwood that UOG is still owed $9.7 million for fiscal year 2017 or 32% of their entire annual budget. Cruz says this shortfall is jeopardizing UOG’s ability to hire teachers, maintain its buildings and possibly meet payroll in the future.

The Speaker wrote a letter to DOA Director Christine Baleto noting that DOA has shorted UOG over $5 million for FY2016 despite the administration’s declaration of a $13.4 million surplus. Additionally, Cruz says that GCC has not received $3 million dollars and GDOE has not received $3.6 million that is owed for FY2017. The oversight hearing is set for Oct. 31st at 2p.m.

 

READ FULL PRESS RELEASE BELOW:

 

Cruz Calls Oversight on Education Cash Shortfall

HEARING TO DETERMINE STATUS OF CASH RELEASE TO UOG, GCC, AND GDOE

 

(October 17, 2017- Hagåtña) Following recent reports that our educational institutions are still facing significant cash shortfalls for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017—Committee on Appropriations and Adjudication (Committee) Chairman and Speaker Benjamin J. F. Cruz has called an oversight hearing on the agency responsible for cash release: the Department of Administration (DOA). Set for TuesdayOctober 31st at 2:00 PM, the hearing will require DOA representatives to provide detailed cash flow projections to determine just how much education is expected to receive for the fiscal year.

 

The announcement arrives after Cruz received correspondence from University of Guam (UOG) President Robert A. Underwood, indicating that $9.7 million, or 32% of UOG’s FY 2017 appropriation, remains outstanding—jeopardizing the university’s ability to hire teachers, maintain its buildings, or possibly meet payroll in the future.

 

In a letter transmitted to DOA Director Christine W. Baleto this morning, Cruz highlights that this isn’t the first time the department has shorted the university. Despite the Administration declaring a surplus in FY 2016, DOA failed to remit over $5 million of what was legally appropriated to UOG by the Legislature for that fiscal year.

 

“While the University has averted a payless payday thus far, ‘…the recent dearth of cash allotment payments is starting to elevate concerns over the ability to meet payroll,’” said Cruz, citing President Underwood’s correspondence. “This situation is compounded by the fact that while the Government of Guam declared a $13.4 million surplus in FY 2016, UOG did not receive over $5 million in cash receipts when compared to its FY 2016 appropriation level.”

 

The university is not the only educational institution endangered by the Calvo Administration’s continual neglect. To date, officials from the Guam Community College (GCC) contend that they have yet to receive $3 million while the Guam Department of Education (GDOE) reports a $3.6 million cash shortfall for FY 2017.

 

“Every institution of learning supported by the Government of Guam’s annual budget act must clearly understand when cash releases can be counted on from DOA—or if they will come at all,” stated Cruz.

 

As a result, Cruz requested that the Department of Administration provide an updated reporting of cash release payments made to UOG, GCC, and GDOE for FY 2017—detailed by amount, fund source, check number, and check payment dates; as well as any agreements between DOA and the institutions on the expected release of cash for FY 2017 moving forward. A week-to-week cash release schedule for Fiscal Year 2018, detailed by fund source, is also on the agenda.

 

In preparation for the oversight, Cruz noted that the requested information should be provided to the Committee no later than Wednesday, October 25th.