Another delay discovered in transfer of trash system back to Gov - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Another delay discovered in transfer of trash system back to GovGuam

Posted: Jun 08, 2018 2:37 PM Updated:

Control over the islandwide trash system is supposed to revert back to the local government at the end of this month. But like previous deadlines, there may be a snag that will again delay the long-awaited handover.  

For a decade now our trash system has been under the management of a federally-appointed receiver, Gershman, Brickner and Bratton. The District Court ordered the takeover because of GovGuam's inability for many years prior, to close and replace the old Ordot Dump, which was polluting a nearby river in violation of federal clean water laws.

GSWA vice-chairman Jon Denight says the receiver has done a good job, but now it's time to move on, saying, "The people of Guam borrowed $200 million and fixed the problem. They opened a new landfill in Layon, and they closed the Ordot Dump. And that was the purpose of the receiver, to take care of the problem."

But the transition back to local control has been delayed at least three times says Denight, and a June 30 deadline is again in jeopardy because of yet another concern raised by the receiver. He continued, "Here we are at the eleventh hour again, the receiverships supposed to end at the end of June, and the receiver is setting up for another extension. I can't say much about that because it's a personnel matter, all I can say is he's attacking certain members of the staff trying to discredit them."

A misconduct allegation was raised prior to the most recent status hearing, and the court has placed the complaint under seal. But Denight says these delays mean the receiver will continue its lucrative contract that has paid it more than $20 million in the last ten years. He says it's been more than four years since the court ordered the receiver to prepare for a transition back to local government control.

"So he said that he's in charge, and he's in charge of the transition. So if there's problems with the transition, the receiver needs to take some sort of responsibility, and he hasn't. so basically he stalls on the transition, and he turns around and blames everybody that the transition is not working," he explained. "When we take over, nothing will change. The system is working, we'll leave it as is. We'll just try to improve on this system. But we first gotta get past the receiver."

Another status hearing is set for later this month.

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