Solid Waste Authority makes case for more autonomy - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Solid Waste Authority makes case for more autonomy

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - The Guam Solid Waste Authority has filed its latest letter to the federal court making the case as to why it needs greater autonomy.

It is the latest in a string of briefs filed in federal court related to the Ordot consent decree case. Specifically the Guam Solid Waste Authority's request and letter filed with the court in February seeking resolution to four main issues to immediately start the search for a general manager, allow the board a real oversight role in portions of the Guam Solid Waste Authority operation, start the search for a chief financial officer and finally the ability to immediately issue an RFP for legal services. Since it's February letter GovGuam, the receiver as well as the US Attorney's Office filed their responses to the GSWA board's request.

Although GovGuam supports GSWA's efforts, the same couldn't be said for GBB and the US Attorneys Office. In his brief US Assistant Attorney Robert Mullaney objected to the GSWA board's proposals because they feel the board has failed to demonstrate either the technical expertise in solid waste operations or the required familiarity with GSWA's finances. Instead they requested the federal receiver retain its control and authority over GSWA's day to day operations and consent decree projects.

In a letter filed with the court Monday,  GSWA interim chair Andrew Gayle Jr. wrote the board takes exception to the criticism considering the fact the US Attorney has never attended a board meeting and has not engaged the board in any manner.   Gayle wrote the board is loaded with talent; a telecom executive with experience in privatizing a public utility, a beverage company executive with extensive operational and media experience, a successful and renowned corporate attorney, a finance executive with extensive bond knowledge and experience, and a local businessman with direct operational experience within the solid waste division of the Department of Public Works.

Gayle added that he and his colleagues take the court's instruction to become familiar with the solid waste operations seriously, "Which is why the board seeks more timely and more in depth financial information. It also why the board has pushed for almost a year now to have legal counsel and proceed with creating its rules and regulations. It also why the board is now here asking the court to allow it to hire a general manager and CFO to help lead the agency through the transition."

Meanwhile in their response brief to the court, the GSWA board also submitted a letter from Senator Tom Ada, who authored the law creating the Guam Solid Waste Authority. Senator Ada wrote that he supports their efforts in taking a more participative role in the oversight of GSWA's operations and the immediate recruitment of a general manager and chief financial officer.

"Just based on where the receiver is at with the decree it appears that there is justification to be able to start accelerating that timeline and start the GSWA board involved as opposed to waiting until much later as proposed by the receiver so in that respect I wrote to the board expressing my confidence in the ability of the board to begin that transition now in selecting a general manager, a chief financial officer, a legal counsel who will help them in developing their rules and regulations I don't see any reason why we should further delay that," he said.

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