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New procurement admin, attorney at DOE

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - The Department of Education now has a new procurement administrator and legal counsel to help ensure federal dollars are obligated and spent. The two positions were vacant for the past several months.

Marc Pido started his job a couple of weeks ago as the supply management administrator. The position has been vacant since September after former administrator Brian Mafnas resigned from his post. With challenges at DOE when it comes to procurement, Pido says he's ready and willing to work toward making improvements. 

"Being able to work with the third-party fiduciary agent and we have a new legal counsel coming on board at DOE who has some procurement background. While the Procurement Department had some issues in the past, I think we're moving in the right direction. And the procurement team is really good. They have vast experience. It's just a matter of the caseload previously," he said.

DOE is expected to obligate and spend about $90 million. Pido says while this is his first government job, he says he has much experience in the private sector. "I was in the petroleum industry for five years. I was in shipping for six years. I managed a small construction company for two years. And then I most recently managed a small construction rental business," he said.

With the lack of resources in his department, Pido says with the use of federal dollars, improvements will be made. "Part of the ARRA funds is to put in a financial management system. So we're getting the structure and the systems correct. I do believe that our team and the people in place are the right people going forward. I think we'll see good things come out of the procurement here at DOE," he explained.

In the meantime, also new to her job with DOE is Rebecca Santo Tomas. She started working at DOE last week, filling the vacancy left by former legal counsel Fred Nishihara. Santo Tomas is joined by another legal counsel Laura Mooney, who has been at the agency for several months. So far, Santo Tomas says she has been working closely with Pido to tackle pressing issues like stimulus funding.

"I'm sure he's tired of seeing me already," she joked. "We've been meeting and he started, I believe, a week before I did. We've been meeting with the Alvarez and Marsal team as well and just trying to identify what needs to be worked on and of course to make sure that our procedures are as they should be."

While funding from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act is at the top of the list, Santo Tomas says there's a whole list of priorities she'd like to work on.

"There are lots of things that are priorities for the department. Everyday education, special education and other issues on funds that every department faces. So it's hard to figure out if one thing is more important than another. I just want to make sure we get things addressed - all the things that need to get addressed in a timely and correct fashion as possible," she said.

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