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Chief judge addresses GSWA's letter

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 by Jolene Toves

Guam - Almost at the finish line with the Ordot consent decree, District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood addressed a letter submitted by the Guam Solid Waste Authority board.

In that letter three main issues where discussed: first, the issue of legal services for the board; according to GBB's David Manning it is in the works as an RFP has been issued and a pre-proposal meeting was held with four interested firms. Manning says the deadline for submission for bids is on July 17th.

The second issue has to do with the board's request to immediately solicit for a general manager and a chief financial officer.  While the timeline has been set for January through December 2015 to address the hiring and training for these positions board vice chairman Jon Denight argued why wait until next year when it can be done now while the receiver is on island so that the maximum amount of time could be used to learn from the receiver.

GBB however disagreed responding why have a duplication of services, when the GM and CFO would not be doing anything and be getting paid. While Chief Judge Tydingco Gatewood stated the board may very well take over sooner than later the federal receiver stated the timeline originally provided may be extended rather than expedited, which the governments legal counsel Rawlen Matanona found baffling.

"We still have a problem understanding why the receiver needs to be in control of Layon or all of GSWA just make sure its complete the Ordot closure which should be done according to our field trip to Ordot December 2015 and subsequent road projects," he said. It is this reason that Mantanona says the government supports an earlier transition rather than a later one.

Meanwhile the chief judge made it clear that when the court feels the board is ready to take over they will. She added that time, priority and funding is what it all boils down to. Funding that GBB says is the reason for the delay as required management staff and contract employee transition exceeds the receiver's operational costs and additional costs should be deferred as long as possible.

Denight however disagrees, saying, "Probably the only thing I disagree with is the receiver saying it is cheaper under the receivership than not but when they listed the cost of the receivership they showed us $600,000 matching about $2 million. That is an issue that is the reasons that are in dispute right now I defer to comment in regards to that in any kind of expenditures of money is more of a policy decision that needs to be addressed by my clients rather than myself."

As for the third issue, GSWA is seeking greater involvement and real oversight in operations such as with the Layon landfill, transfer stations and residential collections. Denight argued GBB's role should relegated to overseeing the closure of Ordot. "All we are trying to do here is save the government money as much as possible," he said.

However Manning says that without full control they cannot guarantee they will be able to achieve all the requirements of the consent decree.  Meantime during today's hearing the chief judge strongly suggested that there not be any further antagonism by Attorney Mantanona and the GSWA board toward the federal receiver.

Gatewood saying there needs to be more professionalism and civility between all parties. 
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