Lawyer, supply chief both no longer at DOE - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Lawyer, supply chief both no longer at DOE

by Michele Catahay

Guam - Two key employees at the Department of Education are no longer working there. Within the past week, the legal counsel has transferred to the Attorney General's Office and the supply and procurement administrator has submitted his resignation.   DOE's legal counsel and the supply and procurement administrator work hand-in-hand to review and put out requests for proposal on a regular basis.

But KUAM News has confirmed that legal counsel Fred Nishihara and procurement administrator Brian Mafnas no longer work for the largest agency in the Government of Guam. Superintendent Dr. Nerissa Bretania Underwood says Mafnas' resignation wasn't something they anticipated.  "He informed us on Wednesday that he will be quitting the following day and he gave us the letter on that date. So as you already know, procurement is very challenging and we've had projects that we have and to address immediately that had to do with the safety of our students such as the fire alarms and the fire extinguishers," she said.

Bretania Underwood says while DOE is trying to hire a replacement, she says the procurement staff will be handling the work for now. As for the transfer of Nishihara to the AG's Office, the superintendent says this is something they've known about for the past three months.

"I had met with the attorney general when we were making the transition and he had assured me that when it comes to court cases, the AG will be handling that and help us with that. Fred continues to provide us with transitions and assistance although he is located at the Attorney General's Office," the superintendent continued.

DOE is tasked with spending millions of dollars from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds and with hundreds of contracts going out, Bretania Underwood says they're receiving much needed help by others.  She added, "We do have the infrastructure in place to handle this and again, as I had noted, we also have had offers from other agencies who have procurement officers to provide us help in reviewing our procurement documents if we have any questions at this point."

DOE will be announcing the job opening for the procurement administrator soon. As for efforts to fill the legal counsel's position, she says four applicants have already applied and they continue to recruit.

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