DPW chief disputes OPA report about fraud - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

DPW chief disputes OPA report about fraud

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The director of the Department of Public Works disputes a recent public auditor's report citing "potential fraud and misuse of equipment." Glenn Leon Guerrero admits there are policies and procedures that need to be tighter, but he denies any widespread abuse.

The OPA audit of DPW's heavy equipment and parts management identified about $5 million in potential impacts for lack of basic internal controls, from failing to conduct physical inventories to reconciling purchase reports. "The Department of Public Works is guilty on a lot of fronts, and most of our guilt is we don't document. And so we're going to change that," Leon Guerrero documented. "And we're also going to change some of our policies."

The audit was triggered by a whistleblower complaint that an employee was using a low-boy trailer for his personal business. Leon Guerrero says multiple internal reviews, and the OPA investigation itself  determined the charge to be unsubstantiated.  The director says another complaint of DPW accepting free equipment from an employee is true. 

He's done that when his resource-strapped agency is in a bind, but only the governor is legally allowed to do that. "You know, I guess I'm weighing the good of the community," he shared.  "I mean, I understand if you want to put controls in, fine. But to carte blanche say we can't accept free services."

He says they've asked the governor to approve future pro bono services from the employee, and he also think senators should think about amending the law.  Leon Guerrero says many of the issues cited by the OPA are because DPW is trying to make do with the limited resources it has. For example, Parking heavy equipment at private property to keep them closer to project sites, or taking parts from one piece of equipment to keep another operating. He welcomes the audit and the OPA's recommendations.

"There's a whole lot of things that we can correct, and we've done a lot of corrections since then," he stated.

The audit states DPW is launching a new fleet management system to improve controls, but warns management needs to ensure there is a commitment to ethical practices and integrity from all.

Leon Guerrero concluded, "It needs to get done, and I'm happy to do it."

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