GSA has until midnight to approve requisitions
by Nick Delgado
Guam - The clock is ticking for the General Services Agency to process a half-million dollars worth of bond proceeds. That money will go to repair the ailing fleet of vehicles for the Guam Police and Fire Departments and Public Works. And with a midnight deadline, legislation has been introduced that could give the agency some breathing room.
GPD and GFD have had less than two months to spend $400,000 that was set aside from DPW's Limited Obligation Highway Bond to fund repairs to the agencies' ailing medic and patrol fleets. Spending that money has proven difficult because of the government's procurement process.
General Services Agency Chief Procurement Officer Claudia Acfalle said, "We cannot stop protest, but to minimize and avoid it is to put out specifications that are clear and concise to the prospective bidders when they submit their bids."
Further cause for concern is the submission of late requisition forms, specifically from GFD. "Just early this morning so we are going to try our best to execute those purchase orders to day depending on how soon the vendors can respond to the request that we issued today because with the fire department they were just submitted today just this morning," Acfalle added.
If the funds are not processed by midnight tonight then it will be returned to the General Fund, however Acfalle says they are almost confident they can prevent that. "We are certain that we will issue all the awards and encumber the monies before midnight tonight because we have a couple of bids that will be opening later on today and we will be making the awards later on," she explained.
Both Guam Police and Guam Fire say they too have been working hard in the eleventh hour to ensure the funding isn't lost. "We worked over the weekend and we were able to facilitate the 5% being sent for requisitions," Acfalle added.
Guam Police Captain Mark Charfaurios stated, "GPD has been very aggressive. We have been consistently made phone calls. We have been working on this on a daily basis to make sure all the documentations are in and we're confident that we can make the deadline however an extension will help us simply because there will be a balance of about $5,500."
Despite the noted procurement issues, Senator Tom Ada introduced legislation and is appealing to the BBMR office to ask for more time to use the money and to ensure it does not go to any other appropriations. The senator said, "I'm letting her be aware that these funds are going to be lapsing so please do not rush out to go and divert this $500,000 to something else but instead to please hold on to it because we expect to have this bill enacted upon where we can have the agencies then go back and make repairs on these public safety vehicles."
If the request is granted by BBMR, Ada says this will give the opportunity for the bill to go up for a public hearing on April 21 to determine what the delays were in meeting the 120-day deadline to spend the funds. To avoid losing a single penny from the bond, Ada is hopeful the legislation will make it through on session floor in May.