Speaker seeks more funding for OPA

Speaker Tina Muna Barnes

Speaker Tina Muna Barnes has written to Governor Lou Leon Guerrero asking her to allocate some of the federal coronavirus relief funding GovGuam has received to the Office of Public Accountability.

“I implore you to allocate a small fraction that you have received,” writes the Speaker, to ensure that Public Auditor Benjamin Cruz “has the necessary resources he needs to hire additional auditors or contract out auditing services.”

The Speaker maintains that the “people of Guam lack a sense of trust in our government” and ensuring that the OPA has sufficient funds to audit “coronavirus relief funds (and) other COVID-19 related programs … would serve as an insurance policy for our Government, and more importantly, restore the People’s trust in this Government.”

Without additional funding, she writes, the OPA’s “ability to perform its day-to-day functions” would be “significantly” impacted.

The Governor has said on more than one occasion in recent months that the coronavirus relief funds received by Guam will be subject to a number of different federal audits.

Speaker Barnes maintains that the CARES Act allows relief funds to be used to conduct local audits.