USDOE conducts exit interview for DOE - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

USDOE conducts exit interview for DOE

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 by Jolene Toves

Guam - While the Department of Education rated fair with USDOE, they still have room for improvement.  The Duam Department of Education got a fair rating from the US Department of Education when it relates to their financial systems.

The federal agency was on Guam over the last week evaluating how far along the local agency has come along in getting off high risk grantee status. It's a designation they've have had since 2004 and with little improvement in 2009 the agency was placed under a fiduciary agent which took over control of monitoring and managing federal funds for DOE.  Superintendent Jon Fernandez said, "The US Department of Education came to visit us two years ago we met in 2012 and at that time they were very pleased to know that we had implemented a new financial management system."

The financial management system replaced a two-decades-old system currently used by the rest of GovGuam. It placed DOE ahead of the times and in a position to make significant progress, with Fernandez saying, "What they did is they came and talked to me they talked to the board they talked to division heads and then they went out to the schools to see how our schools were using the system."

Fernandez says they were very pleased and excited to see how many doe employees are well trained and using the financial management system, but before they left they gave their recommendations for improvement. "They identified potential improvements in human capital they did assess the personnel leadership in our different divisions so I will be working with them and our third party to address our human capital needs," he said.

Fernandez says that means adding new employees and shifting employees to new responsibilities or holding them more accountable. "We talked a little bit about how we are right now everyone is kind of focused on their silos, this is my activity this is what I am suppose to do in the system  and so they saw a lot of that," he said.

Fernandez says they are trying to be more conscious of the overall interaction across divisions to understand how the business process works, noting, "That means if you did your job but there is an issue that happened later in the process that we're are aware of the issues and working collaboratively to fix it."

In addition Fernandez says they talked about how to improve federal and local collaboration and integrate how they handle federal money with how they handle local money. According to Fernandez the new financial management system covers a lot of activities conducted by doe including payroll, procurement and facilities and maintenance work requests, now making the once-paper-heavy department automated. 

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