Henry Taitano comes up short in confirmation hearing
Guam - Pressed for time, lawmakers convened in emergency session to act on the appointment of Henry Taitano to serve as the administrator of the Guam Economic Development Authority. and like over the last several days it was filled with controversy. Taitano said, "It's sad that it's come to this where all of the focus is on everything but what's important."
It's been a rough few days for him, appointed to serve as the administrator of GEDA by Governor Eddie Calvo. "If Henry is not selected," Calvo said, "I think that would do a disservice to GEDA and to the people of Guam. He's would be a terrific asset to GEDA, to the people of Guam, and he would be the right man for the job in helping grow this economy."
Taitano's appointment, however, has been opposed by Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz, who questioned whether Taitano had been truthful about his prior business ventures when he was in his 20's. "I know there are some calls into question of some of these businesses that I owned over a decade ago, which was a restaurant, which I tried to provide the information that shows I no longer am an owner of that business or that partnership," Taitano stated.
During regular session Thursday Vice Speaker Cruz produced documents claiming Taitano wasn't truthful and that he was involved with the businesses in question. The documents provided to his colleagues were sent to Taitano's mother's house, where he no longer lives. "I have asked her if she's ever seen these documents, she hasn't seen these as well and I think she's writing a written statement to the senators to say she hasn't seen this documents as well," Taitano said.
Today more documents were provided to lawmakers during an emergency session, this time from Taitano to clear his name. "I'm trying to do the best I can to provide the senators with everything I can. Obviously, I wouldn't put it in my packet if it was something I was hiding from," he said.
During session, committee chair Senator Dennis Rodriguez, Jr. addressed his colleagues, saying, "I'm hoping that this now will satisfy the questions that were raised and we can now move forward and move on his confirmation."
But the vice speaker wasn't satisfied questioning the voracity of the documents, saying, "I'll just make this short because I have other things to do today: if you believe if you feel that the person that's going to be your administrator for GEDA could not have provided those documents two days ago, then fine. Confirm."
Taitano needed eight votes, however, he only received seven in support of his confirmation and five no's. There were two excused absences whereas Speaker Judi Won Pat recused herself because Taitano's mother was the treasurer of her campaign.
Although a motion was made to reconsider his nomination at the next legislative session, the motion failed, meaning Taitano's appointment is dead. Immediately following the vote, Taitano told KUAM News that at the end of the day, it's been an honor to have served in the capacity", adding he's still committed to helping the governor in any way possible.
Despite today's vote, Governor Calvo still believes Taitano is the most suited candidate for the GEDA administrator and will continue to push for his confirmation. In a statement Governor Calvo says "it makes no sense to us why the Legislature would reject his nomination, especially since this young leader with so much promise has already contributed so much to the forward direction of our island. He is the best man for the job and I fully intend to push for the reconsideration of his vote or simply to re-nominate him."