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Village mayors seeing red

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by Heather Hauswirth

Guam - You pay for it every time you registered your vehicle. Guam EPA approved it, and now 26 village mayors are seeing red.  And now it seems Adelup will have to step in to broker a deal.

The partners involved in the Islandwide Abandoned Vehicle Project are having problems. Vice-president of the Mayors Council Robert Hoffman says he speaks on behalf of all the village mayors who have had enough with the politics preventing the recycling program from being executed properly. 

He told KUAM News, ""I've talked to them one-on-one and in our meetings I was chosen as the environmental chair. I speak on behalf of our mayors here and they are very pissed off. I get yelled at in the mornings all the time and I feel them because I can tell the constituents are breathing down our necks because we've been working on this and planning it."

On April 6, Guam EPA Administrator Lorilee Crisostomo sent a letter to the president and vice-president of the Mayors Council as well as the chief procurement officer for GSA Claudia Acfalle, saying that a legal opinion she received from the AG's Office is the explanation for the standstill.  She wrote, "You are further advised not to issue any more purchase orders to Bali Steel Guam, LLC due to their non-compliance. All future removals of abandoned vehicles, white goods, tires and batteries will be dependent on a new request for procurement which will be submitted to your office."

Yet Hoffman says he's spoken to the chief procurement officer and she confirmed it's not just a matter of interpretation.  "I talked to Claudia, she said this contract, it is valid. It's there. We want to address it. We were writing a letter on Friday and then got a call from Claudia saying hold on first and lets see what she's going to do because she wants to write a letter from her end to writing back to EPA because she's concerned - saying how can you tell me something I approved is wrong? You want to do my job, too?"

Further fueling the fire, Crisostomo criticized mayors last week for misunderstanding the procurement process in an interview with KUAM News.  "We worked with her for so many months and why now for her to say hey maybe not so, really to call into question the mayor's ability to know procurement is a slap in the wrist and an insult to the mayors," she said.

The AG's Office has not yet responded to our requests for further information or confirmation of their involvement in this matter. Said Hoffman, "I'd be concerned if she is just name dropping the Attorney General's Office or whichever or was it a conversation she had in passing.  And from what I understand from the AG's Office, it's just something she asked and the reason the AG's Office reacted that way is because she brought up that they have a violation so they shouldn't be doing it so the AG's Office agreed."

Meanwhile, a meeting will take place tomorrow at the Governor's Office with stakeholders and mayors to plea with the public to be patient and hold on to their white goods until the project gets the greenlight once again.

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