Trash talk continues as GovGuam appeals decision - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Trash talk continues as GovGuam appeals decision

by Jolene Toves

Guam - The trash talk continues as GovGuam has filed an appeal to a recent decision by District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood. The Governor's Office believes the federal judge is preventing the government from having a voice in the Ordot consent decree case.

The Government of Guam is hoping for intervention from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. On Thursday GovGuam filed an appeal hoping the 9th Circuit will overturn a decision by Tydingco Gatewood that prohibits the full substitution of counsel in the Ordot consent decree case. As we reported the Calvo Administration contends the government has no voice in the litigation because the AG's Office represents the Guam Solid Waste Authority - an autonomous agency of the government and which is controlled by the federal receiver Gershman Brickner & Bratton.

Governor Eddie Calvo said, "We would hope that the Attorney General's Office would represent the interest of the people but was made very clear by the Office of the Attorney General that they represent GBB though the judge has stated and ordered them to represent the people of Guam and the Governor's Office and the Government of Guam."

It was in August Judge Gatewood denied the government's motion for reconsideration of her previous decision disallowing a full substitution of counsel.  Aside from finding the substitution could likely result in substantial delay to the final closure of the Ordot Dump and significant expenses to the receiver and ultimately the government.  The judge also did not believe that a conflict exists between the AG's Office and the receiver.   It's something the Calvo Administration vehemently disagrees with. Of utmost concern to the government are contracts that are soon to be penned for the closure of the Ordot Dump, including one for $49 million, contracts that will obligate the people of Guam to pay but have no say in.

Governor Calvo says yesterday's announcement- by the federal receiver regarding the possibility of raising tipping fees as much as 50% to pay the debt service of the bond the GovGuam floated to meet the mandates of the consent decree - is yet another example of being left out of the loop.

The governor's chief policy advisor Arthur Clark said during yesterday's meeting of the Guam Solid Waste Authority that was the first he heard about a 50% rate increase. "It's obvious that the Office of the Attorney General is representing GBB and someone has to represent the people of Guam, so this is another discovery and you can see some of the concerns and some of the angst by members of the Solid Waste Commission," he said.

The Attorney General's Office today defends that they are the people's lawyer. According to spokesperson Carlina Charfauros the AG's Office represents the Government of Guam. As for GBB's David Manning he not only says GovGuam was informed about the possible need for it to raise rates last year.. But that gbb was appointed by the court and therefore are officers of the court with the sole decision to enforce the consent decree.

Manning argues it is ultimately a decision of Guam leaders as to whether it wishes to raise rates in order to seek full reimbursement for the $12 million in Section 30 funds required to pay the debt service. "I am surprised by the arrogance and demeanor of the third party and I guess it's easy since it's not his money it's not the federal government it's the people of Guam's money," he said.

We should add that a motion to stay was filed pending the outcome.

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