Senior Citizens Legal Assistance suspended - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Senior Citizens Legal Assistance suspended

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - Senior citizens who are in need of legal assistance will have to wait for help as the Department of Public Health suspended the program. For the last five years, the service has been provided under a multiyear contract with Attorney Frank Gumataotao. The contract was to be renewed in October of last year and funds were certified to be available and even the attorney general signed-off on the agreement. 

The contract, however, lacked the governor's signature and Attorney Gumataotao contends it's all political. "I think even the cancellation of the contract is illegal, but the politics being what it is, there's no way this administration is going to give me a contract for anything or keep one that I've earned," he told KUAM News.

Asked why he thought such was the case, he responded by saying, "I think they made it clear that I filed a federal complaint against them and also an Open Government Law, which is a local law against the Election Commission, and that set off all kinds of problems."

Public Health Director Jim Gillan responded to Gumatoatao's claims, saying he is entitled to his own opinion but the government invoked sections of the contract that allowed for the suspension.  Gillan added that the department is seeking an emergency procurement to secure another provider for the remainder of this fiscal year.  Those senior citizens meanwhile needing legal assistance can sign up on a waiting list at Public Health.

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