Legislative contracts on the rise in the 34th Guam Legislature - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Legislative contracts on the rise in the 34th Guam Legislature

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Compared to their predecessors, sitting senators have doubled-up on contracts. And what type of contracts are we talking about? The people of Guam footing the bill for Instagram and Facebook posts for senators’ social media, website design, vague research, New Year’s greeting cards and graphic designs. Professional contracts in the 34th Legislature so far totaling $66,000, up from $35,000 in the 33rd Legislature.

The biggest single independent contract? Accountant Edison Manaloto in 2017 handed a contract totaling $20K for three months of “consulting services” to the Office and Finance and Budget.

Speaker BJ Cruz signed off on the contract.

HAVE A LOOK AT THE CONTRACTS

Senator Tommy Morrison pays Prodigy Studios $12,000 to maintain his website and social media. Even though the Legislature already has a website it says provides more accessibility to the public, Senator Morrison still feels his contract with Prodigy is justified.

“They handle our website, basically our IT infrastructure. Designing and providing content and making sure the legislation that we produce – we end up marketing it out there as well – either through press releases, social media. Different tools that we can get out there, so definitely we’ve done a good job with getting our message out with this contract,” Senator Morrison said.

While some senators – Senator Wil Castro, Senator Regine Biscoe Lee and Senator Morrison employ independent contractors to manage their social media accounts – it is more common for senators to send staffers to events to take pictures. These pictures then end up on Instagram or FB – glorified campaign propaganda – promoting the false narrative senators are everywhere, doing everything, helping everyone. Which begs the question – are senators really too busy to do their own social media?

Senator Biscoe Lee maintains a steady presence on social media and although her staff does most of the posting – she just gave out a $3,000 dollar contract to have someone maintain her social media during the campaign stretch. And not even a month into being a freshman senator, she handed Dreamstorm Productions a$1500 to design a New Year’s greeting card, business cards, stationery and social media graphics.

Senator Wil Castro dominates Facebook feeds and has also handed out two contracts worth $7,250 for social media and web-related services. But his website hasn’t been updated since January.

Senator Castro has also contracted out research to people with little to no professional research experience – in one instance an education research contract given to James Pettite was signed on November 15, 2017. Pettite’s business license was stamped “paid” November 16. Castro has issued the most independent contracts – 5 for $18,650.

Legal services contracts account for $387,000. Legislative legal counsel Julian Aguon paid $225,000 for the two-year term. Former Speaker Judi Won Pat’s daughter Ana Maria Won-Pat Borja will pull down $105K for assisting Aguon. KUAM files show Borja was arrested in 2013 for advanced stalking, violating a court order and harassment. We checked with the courts, it appears the case was expunged.

Mary Louise Wheeler’s contract as the Committee on Health’s consulting lawyer is worth $42,000 and John Bell was paid $15,000 for legal services to the Committee on Ethics and Standards.

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