Department of Administration appears for budget battle - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Department of Administration appears for budget battle

Posted: Jun 07, 2018 4:27 PM Updated:

Up for its budget hearing but put on notice. The Department of Administration is grilled by senators about the ongoing delays of hiring critical positions. The concerns also highlighting the apparent use of special funds DOA officials say was taken to help cover other government spending like payroll.

A budget presentation that failed to meet its oversight chair's expectations. Speaker BJ Cruz said, "I'm not sure if I should express my utter disappointment or my utter dismay at this presentation."

DOA presented its mission defending its existence. But, Speaker Cruz saying he expected more, saying, "The human resource department is the kidney. And surely you've heard every department come through here and when we've asked them why haven't you filled your 42 positions at DRT? Because we haven't been able to get it through DOA. Why haven't you picked up your GPD officers? Well, we couldn't get through DOA HR, we went through the whole process then it became a year and it expired and have to do it again."

The issue follows a series of budget hearings from other agencies calling out delays by DOA. Department Deputy Director Vince Arriola, said, "The process just takes a long time. We heard the budget hearings and other department's throwing us under the bus. We are well prepared to defend ourselves. Trust me it's not all of DOA holding these applications or GG1's. It behooves us to leave it on our desk and delay the hiring. Absolutely not, we know what's needed at GPD and especially Rev and Tax."

The discussion then shifting as senators each took a jab at DOA leaders about the transferring special funds.

Funding officials say was taken to help cover cost elsewhere and avert payless paydays.

Senator Tom Ada focused on the special funds designated for the Chamorro Land Trust Commission. "The irony of it all is by taking those funds. General fund money should not be used to do work on CLT property. So it's like taking Dave Davis' tax dollars to go in there into CLT property to survey property in there. So now that the money has been taken away they are going TO have to wait to build it up again before they survey properties and that's what's holding up the issuance of leases," he said.

Arriola added, "There's current funds in there as months go on. The actual funding for them to do what they want to do. The funds we would've paid it if they used it. The problem is they are not using it."

Senator Telena Nelson pressed DOA on special funds taken from GFD's E-911 said, "I am a little disappointed because we had fire stations shut down and we had an incident that happened while one of the fire stations shut down. So this put our people at risk for the risk of a political game or ploy and for money to be transferred out to general fund because GFD does not have support it needs is beyond me."

"However you are allocating and moving this money is beyond unorthodox, it's wrong and I don't need a response from you Mr. Arriola because the information you gave me in March 4 was inaccurate," he stated.

Arriola noted, "We will certainly look into this. I have no communication from the FCC."  Arriola says they will put together a complete analysis of the special funds that will include the balance, and hand it over to the committee.

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