Missing files could mean millions in funding - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Missing files could mean millions in funding

by Nick Delgado

Guam - The Guam State Clearinghouse received not a very warm welcome when they entered their office space at Adelup. While officials today did find some of the resources that were nowhere to be found, they are now hoping to put the issue behind them.

"There's a lot of things in haste to close the office, but the working files were deleted; but there are hard copies available and we are working right now to restore some of that information," noted former Guam State Clearinghouse administrator Roland Villaverde. He admits he and his staff deleted their files - the problem is that they didn't leave any hard copies or any complete files or hard drives or a database detailing the government's federal grants.

The only working files in existence, Villaverde says, were on his personal computer. He says he took the information, as he was ordered to wipe out the system. "One of the policies in regards to the transition was to clear out our computers and aligned with that directive," he explained. "We did what we did on our side, but at the same token we understood that it was not in the nest interest to delete it without backing up anything."

He adds that it was a communication issue between the two administrations. Former Lieutenant Governor's Office staffer Carlo Branch told KUAM News that this is a non-issue because the documents needed could easily be obtained at the Bureau of Budget Management & Research.

However, new Clearinghouse administrator Eric Palacios says it's more than that. "There are certain records that can be obtained from both the Department of Administration and BBMR, but even those records will not necessarily reflect every piece of paper that were submitted to the Guam State Clearinghouse, like new applications or request for extensions. There's no way DOA or BBMR would have a copy of those."

Although Villaverde was at Adelup helping retrieve the data, the lack of information officials say literally could have put millions of federal dollars at risk.

Now, State Clearinghouse officials do say that any investigation into the incidents that happened at the facility is not a priority, but that they are working to make sure that the system is back up and running so that operations can run smoothly.

Palacios meanwhile is hoping to put the issue behind him however admits that it should have never happened, saying, "Honestly, the Guam State Clearinghouse should actively be working on bringing money into Guam. It should be working on ensuring that there is a continuity on the service being provided to very critical agencies and non-profit organizations rather than working to retrieve files that should have been here to begin with."

In the meantime, Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz sent his concerns to Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio today, stating that the problems at the Guam State Clearinghouse are artificial, adding that the information can all be found online. In response, Palacios says contrary to the vice speaker's assertion, he says the website is not up to date and is not an accurate course for retrieving records.

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