VIDEO: Mayors Grumble Over OPA’s Critical Audit, But Pleased to Finally Get Check to Pay for Cutting the Grass

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Guam – After electing their officers Tuesday, the Mayors Council of Guam held their first regular meeting of 2012 today [Wednesday] tackling a number of issues that the island’s mayors are faced with including the public auditors opinion on the use of non-appropriated funds and their lack of funding and support for jobs like stray animal control and grass cutting.

 

Mayors reacted to the public auditors opinion that non-appropriated funds or NAF are subject to Guam procurement laws.

Non-appropriated funds are funds that mayors get either through entrance fees for things like softball leagues or through donations. In particular the public auditor stated that mayors should get three separate quotes when procuring anything with non-appropriated funds.

Yigo Mayor Bob Lizama says he’s been a mayor for 15 years and this is the first he’s ever heard of this. “I for one as mayor I feel very responsible when volunteers are coming out to volunteer their time to do a painting of graffiti or cutting grass in the schools or even just volunteering in the village just their free time the very least I can do is give them food and water so they can eat,” said Lizama adding, “If I was to purchase a case of drink or a sack of rice I would have to go now and get three price quotes because it’s money from the NAF I don’t see that in the procurement process.”

“The OPA really wants to establish one policy and procedure to handle all of these NAF accounts so that all the mayors those present and those coming in the future can always go back to this and say this is how we’re going to handle NAF’s from here on in,” said Mayor’s Council Executive Director Angel Sablan.

Mayors are also concerned about reports that animal control officers will be eliminated from the Department of Agriculture. Yigo Mayor Bob Lizama says it will make catching stray dogs more difficult for the mayors who rely on the help of animal control officers. “Perhaps maybe the Guam legislature can look at this and bring these officers under the control of the mayors council of Guam transfer the body and the funding so that we can be able to work hand in hand,” said Mayor Lizama.

The good news for mayors is that they have received at least some of the funding owed to them for cutting grass at the island’s schools. “We understand that the entire Government of Guam there is a cash crunch so when we can’t get the entire 475 thousand dollar check we understand that but what we don’t want to happen is to continue to have a delay in getting these checks released,” said Sablan.

Today they got a check for $119 thousand dollars which should cover grass cutting for the first quarter of this fiscal year.