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Manglona defends staffers

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Benita Manglona, who is serving dual roles in the government as director of the Bureau of Budget Management & Research and acting director of the Department of Administration, spoke before island Rotarians today about the government's financial mess, but also reflected on how she and her staff were treated during last week's budget and oversight hearings.

She explained that she's is a softspoken Chamorro woman from Rota, and that is not customary for her to communicate with anger. "I don't have patience for fancy words or flamboyance or dramatic theatrics like what happened in the public hearing at the legislature last Thursday," she noted. "The hearing quickly dissolved into an assault on my credibility."

During last week's oversight hearing, Manglona and her staff were questioned on a $14 million error that was not caught on a financial report. Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz made several remarks about the lack of confidence and credibility he had in Manglona and her staff. even so far as making a reference to their credibility being as low as the Marianas Trench and how they needed to return to sea level.

"What I did not appreciate was the manner in which my people were publicly berated for misclassification of accounts," she said. "In all honesty, people make mistakes."

Manglona adding she would have thought the panel would have at least taken the time to commend her staff who have been working hard to try to fix the financial mess the Calvo Administration was dealt.  She said she had enough after misleading statements were made about the government's health insurance contract. As we reported Manglona and DOA staffer and member of the Government of Guam's negotiating team Lenora Candaso said Office of Finance & Budget director Chris Budasi was well aware that the rates for the Government of Guam's health insurance contract were going to go up even before the budget was passed last year.

She said, "They knew about the increase and did nothing to budget for it. Instead the shortfall was used as a political tool in the election and used to question the credibility of the new Governor's fiscal policy. Eleven months they turned a blind eye knowing their inaction jeopardized the health and welfare of 23,000 people, yet for an honest mistake on behalf of a budget analyst it was the impetus for an oversight hearing and a public witch hunt.

"There will probably never be an investigation into this year-old issue."

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