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Cruz questions GPD’s $423K Prius deal

Vice Speaker Benjamin Cruz is asking the Guam Police Department to explain the $423,720 extended one-year lease agreement with Atkins Kroll Guam for 10 Toyota Prius vehicles.

The Vice Speaker noted that, based on the agreement, each leased vehicle will end up costing taxpayers $42,000 a year—nearly $20,000 more than the current Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price for a Prius of a similar make and model.

He thus asked “why it costs the department more to lease a Prius than it does to lease a Porsche,” also noting that GPD has just recently announced cost its cutting measures that may reduce the pay of senior officers.

“When the single year lease of a Prius costs thousands of dollars more than owning it outright, our taxpayers have been victimized by either a bad press release or a bad deal.” Cruz said. “I want to know which it is.”

In a Freedom of Information Act request filed over the weekend, Cruz asked the police department to provide him a copy of all lease agreements, amendments, exhibits, attachments, and related correspondence between GPD and Atkins Kroll Guam from 2014 to the present.

“When senior officers within GPD have expressed grave concerns over a potential reduction in paid hours,” Cruz said, “I cannot logically explain why we would so willingly agree to a deal which, on its face, seems wasteful, impractical, and fiscally irresponsible.”

“Because I am aware of your stated commitment to our community and taxpayers,” Cruz stated in his letter to GPD Chief J.I. Cruz. “I sincerely hope that the information [as reported] is in some way inaccurate or incomplete. If it is not, I am compelled to determine the rational basis for the price considered in this lease agreement, answering for myself whether or not this deal is in the best interest of the people of Guam.”

Adelup announced the agreement between GPD and Atkins Kroll on Dec. 22.

“It hasn’t been easy but we did it because we value the safety of our community. And while there is more work to be done, this is an occasion where we can pause, take a breath and say thank you to Chief JI Cruz, the police officers and civilian employees of GPD, our partners in the private sector, and everyone who support our men and women in blue,” Gov. Eddie Cavio said in a statement.

Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio said GPD’s partnership with Atkins Kroll Guam was designed to ensure police officers have the fleet of cars necessary to patrol our streets and respond to emergencies.

“The safety of our people have always been top priority and partnerships with AK and numerous other supporters help make that happen,” Tenorio said.

(The Times News Staff)

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