FCC to Guam: Stop diverting E911 funds

(Updated July 22, 2018, 6:30 p.m.)

The Federal Communications Commission told Guam to stop diverting E911 but Gov. Eddie Calvo justified the fund transfers saying they were “made within the parameters of both federal and local Guam law” and did not adversely affect the local emergency response systems.

Calvo said the 911 fund diversion was authorized under Guam’s FY2018 budget law, which lifted the restrictions on the use of special funds. A provision in the appropriations law states, “Notwithstanding any provision of law, all appropriations from special funds contained in this act, which are not conformance with the statutory uses of said funds, shall be authorized for use in FY2018.”

However, Speaker Benjamin Cruz debunked the governor’s claim, maintaining that E911 fund transfers are a violation of the Guam law.

Based on a Jan. 19, 2018 memo from Administration Director Christine Baleto, the amount of $839,583 in E911 fund was subject to permanent transfer for the current fiscal year. E911 funds that are permanently transferred are no longer available for the Guam Fire Department’s use, according to the memo.

Fire Chief Joey San Nicolas said $488,000 was transferred in 2016 and $840,000 in 2017. “Please note that the monies that were transferred were either not appropriated or were lapsed funds,” San Nicolas said, also citing the fund transfer authority under the 2018 budget law.

The government collected $2,102,423 in E911 fees in 2016 and $2,209,374 in 2017.