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  • Pacific Island Times Staff

Leon Guerrero team hopes to untangle shaky Guam finances

Governor-Elect Lou Leon Guerrero has announced nine members of what is being referred to as a "Fiscal Discipline Team," who will serve in cabinet and sub-cabinet positions in her new administration. It's an acknowledgement that the priority of the new administration will be righting the listing treasury ship of Guam and that rethinking of past fiscal policies is in order.

Gov.-Elect Leon Guerrero will formally transmit their nominations for confirmation to the Guam Legislature as well as submit recommendations to the respective boards of the autonomous agencies. Nominees will serve in acting capacities pending legislative confirmation.

Ms. Bertha Duenas was previously named as the administration’s chief advisor on fiscal discipline.

“I am pleased to announce the remaining members of the Fiscal Discipline Team who are committed to providing the leadership necessary to put our government’s financial house in order. From the moment we take office, our priorities will be to conduct a full review of our government’s finances, collect taxes that are rightfully owed to the government and to establish sound fiscal policies that will rescue the financial state of our government,” said Gov.-Elect Leon Guerrero. “The combined expertise and experience of both current and new leadership not only provides continuity in governance, but more importantly, gives our incoming administration the opportunity to implement a fiscal plan that is in line with the principles of fiscal discipline we committed to our taxpayers.”

“Throughout our campaign, Gov.-Elect Leon Guerrero and I committed to prioritizing how our government handles taxpayer dollars. I am confident in the team we have entrusted to execute this mandate and we look forward to working with them as we explore new opportunities which leads to new jobs for our people and a more diverse economy,” said Lt. Gov.-elect Tenorio. “The Governor-Elect and I are very proud to have them onboard and I know that they are prepared to make change happen.” The nominees and respective agencies follow:

Michele Santos Dep. Dir. Dept. Revenue & Tax; Artemio "Ricky" Hernandez GEDA; Dafne Shimizu Director Dept. Revenue & Tax

• Dafne Shimizu, Director of the Department of Revenue and Taxation. Ms. Shimizu is currently the Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer for StayWell Guam, Inc. She began her professional career with Ernst & Young as a staff accountant and rising to senior tax accountant.

• Michele Santos, Deputy Director of the Department of Revenue and Taxation. Mrs. Santos is currently the Assistant Executive Director at the Guam Board of Accountancy. She has held this position for the past 16 years. Mrs. Santos began her career at the Department of Revenue and Taxation as a management analyst, later as a tax auditor, and was appointed as Deputy Director under the late Gov. Ricardo J. Bordallo in 1983.

• Edward Birn, Director of Department of Administration. Mr. Birn currently serves as Director of the Department of Administration; he was appointed to DOA in February 2018 and will continue in this capacity. His short career in Guam public service began in 2016 as the assistant chief financial officer at the Guam Memorial Hospital Authority.

• Edith Pangelinan, Deputy Director of Department of Administration. Ms. Pangelinan is currently an administrator for a private Architectural & Engineering Firm where she has worked for the past 11 years. She brings 40 years of combined public service, beginning in 1971 at the Guam Environmental Protection Agency for five years before moving to the Bureau of Budget & Management Research, where she served for eight years.

• Lester Carlson, Director Bureau of Budget and Management Research. Mr. Carlson is currently serving as the Acting Director and previously the Deputy Director of the Bureau of Budget and management Research. Mr. Carlson has 30 years of government service and nearly a decade of private sector experience.

• Tyrone Taitano, Director of Bureau of Statistics and Plans. Mr. Taitano is a retiree of the Government of Guam. Mr. Taitano has served in more than a dozen legislative bodies in various advisory capacities. He has conducted extensive work for legislative committees, to include, Ways & Means, Health, Education, Environment and Federal Affairs. While in the executive branch, Mr. Taitano held the positions of Administrator of Guam Memorial Hospital, General Manager of the Guam Mass Transit Authority, and Director of Policy Development and Operations for former Governor Carl T.C. Gutierrez.

• Melanie Mendiola, Administrator of the Guam Economic Development Authority. Ms. Mendiola currently serves as the Executive Director of the University of Guam Endowment Fund. Ms. Mendiola is also the co-founder and Director of Farm to Table Guam. Her career has spanned banking and finance and non-profit management. She worked for approximately 10 years in various roles in financial services - as a commercial analyst, a financial advisor, and retirement counselor.

• Artemio “Ricky” Hernandez, Deputy Administrator of the Guam Economic Development Authority. Mr. Hernandez currently serves as the Director of the Office of Finance and Budget at the Guam Legislature. He has been with the office since 2010 under the late Speaker Vicente “ben” Cabrera Pangelinan, former Speaker Benjamin J. F. Cruz, and Senator Thomas C. Ada—significantly improving the legislative branch’s budgetary process. Prior to his directorship, Mr. Hernandez was an auditor at a Hawaii-based CPA firm.

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