Calvo cabinet looks forward to new challenges - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Calvo cabinet looks forward to new challenges

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - While the Calvo Administration is still working to find the right people to lead various government agencies, some have already hit the ground running. They're looking forward to finding solutions to the challenges ahead.

Department of Public Works director and former senator Joanne Brown is ready to get down and dirty as she leads a critical agency of the Government of Guam. "I don't think we can operate traditionally we have in the past. I think we're going to have to gear up and build up and I think building the confidence and morale of the personnel that work there is an important component because without the support for the people that work in that department, I don't think we can go very far," she speculated.

With an agency responsible for a multitude of services from the solid waste management division running the Ordot Dump and road construction to building permits and buses, Brown knows she's not accepted an easy job.

As she tackles the day to day operations, she says one of her main priorities will be to look at the ongoing road construction and help address the traffic flow during critical hours.

Brown also wants to hold contractors more accountable for their work, telling KUAM News, "I think there's a little more outreach we can do with the community and ensure transparency and also ensure that whatever the contract provisions are with regards to the contractors and what the deliverables are, that's certainly an area that I'm going to have tremendous interest in. I would like to see things get delivered."

Department of Chamorro Affairs director Joseph Cameron has been tasked to work on another type of roadmap - one to promote Guam's culture. The agency will serve as an umbrella agency for the Hagatna Restoration and Redevelopment Authority, the Guam Museum and have a closer relationship with the Guam Visitors Bureau for the branding of Chamorro-type products or events.

"We want to include the Department of Chamorro Affairs as a major stakeholder and the umbrella agency that coordinates its efforts with all agencies dealing with culture and tourism that deal with the Chamorro brand, the Chamorro culture, or the Chamorro language," Cameron said.

Commission on Decolonization director Ed Alvarez will be responsible for reviving the push for Guam's political status with the ultimate goal of having a plebiscite in two years. Aside from starting the education process with island residents, Alvarez says it's important to see what the environment is in Washington to ensure this time around the goal is accomplished.

"So I think more now than ever it's important for us to staff with them and see where is it realistic for us to negotiate the provisions that were initially passed," he stated. "And if those provisions are still applicable today, things may have changed with our people."

And ensuring island residents are trained and ready for the many jobs that will become available as a result of the military buildup is a challenge Department of Labor director Leah Beth Nahalowaa is ready to tackle. DOL is already in the process of conducting an unemployment survey. She says the department will also be working to ensure there are no loopholes in the system for the anticipated arrival of thousands of H2 workers.

"We have an enforcement team that will visit the site and also we'll beef up the Alien Labor Force Division have more manpower, and so that's why I said I'm going to be focusing my energy on this because it's a huge task," Nahalowaa said.

"It's a lot of responsibility, but we're ready."

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