Transition not exactly smooth for one agency - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Transition not exactly smooth for one agency

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - It wasn't the kind of welcoming staff at the Guam State Clearinghouse were expecting. Instead they were greeted with files on the floor, with missing files and hardware.  

"I was able to speak with him briefly and he did tell me that all the information we would need upon taking office would be readily available on the computers," said Eric Palacios. "But that wasn't the case when we walked in." The new administrator of the Guam State Clearinghouse, Palacios says his predecessor Roland Villaverde wasn't exactly truthful when he spoke to him about the transition he'd be making when he took over.

"Since coming in we were not able to ascertain whether there were any time-sensitive urgent or pending matters involving millions of dollars in federal funding, and that's due to the fact that we had no electronic access to those files and physical records were either non existent or not complete," he continued.

As a matter of fact, Palacios and his staff aren't even able to determine whether anything's missing because the prior administration didn't leave an official list of inventory of equipment like computers. "The Clearinghouse essentially is the one-stop center for all the federal grants on Guam, with a couple of exceptions - the University of Guam and the Guam Community College," he explained.  "We review grant applications to ensure that they were both physically and environmentally prudent for Guam."

And with the island and government operating in austere times, sustaining and bringing in federal funding is crucial because it's critical to some agencies and non-profit organizations survival. "The potential to lose millions of dollars in federal funding and or having to pay fines unnecessarily because of a missed deadline because we have no access to expiration dates of certain things is just not a good thing," said Palacios.

"I wish to let the community know, governmental agencies non governmental agencies, non profits please contact us come into our office give us a call and please provide us with a list of anything that's urgent, pending time sensitive, and we'll continue to move forward."

Palacios says they are trying to retrieve as much data as they can from the computers and files that were left behind, but again is asking for the public's patience. Also of note is that former administrator Villaverde has a laptop from the office and was expected to return that today.

Meanwhile, agencies and non-profit organizations with federal grants are urged to call the Lieutenant Governor's Office at 475-9380.

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