Useless commissions, redundant agencies, overstaffed boards identified
In 2012, the Guam Legislature created a Modernization and Rightsizing Commission of the Government of Guam, whose job is to streamline the government, abolish antiquated agencies, and bring GovGuam “into the 21st century.” Seven years later, the commission accomplished nothing, winding up among the list of useless government entities that collect dust.
Streamlining is an occasional buzzword in government. But the fervor always fizzles out. Several discussions — bills filed, and all — on consolidating redundant agencies were shelved. Meanwhile, creating new agencies, either through legislation or executive orders, seems like a government hobby.
The 2018 Transition Committee commissioned by the Leon Guerrero-Tenorio administration found approximately 112 boards, commissions, and councils, with a combined total of approximately 945 statutorily required members for all boards, commissions and councils. Currently, there are 632 sitting board members and 313 vacant or expired board positions.
“The GovGuam is the largest employer of our island’s labor force. Since its inception, it has evolved into an unwieldy bureaucracy based on an industrial model rooted in the early 19th century,” states the transition report.
Compounding the incredible size of bureaucracy is the restrictive attitude. Getting things done in government is exactly how Kakfa described it: a seemingly endless labyrinth that is difficult to navigate.
“This type of organizational structure is often slow to move, compartmentalized in its formation and heavily reliant on incremental output, which locks employees into a ‘job description’ mentality,” the report said.
The committee underscored the need for transformation that requires “radical changes in attitude and behavior.” And the committee is optimistic. “Many GovGuam employees are open-minded and eager to upgrade their skills,” it said.
In yet another attempt to reform bureaucracy, the transition committee released its report, which found that the chaos was worse than imagined. “Most surprising to subcommittee was the fact that no one person or department had a list of all boards and commissions required under Guam law, a list of all current board members, their expiration terms, and other information that could enable anyone to see, at a glance, who are current board members,” the report said.
The Guam Legislature had a list of only those board members confirmed by the current Legislature. The Calvo Administration’s Legal Office had a partial list of current board members. Subcommittee members contacted the various boards and commissions, only to find that most employees did not know whom their board members were.
The committee recommends the abolition of 16 boards and commissions that have not met in many years and have outlived their missions. These commissions remain in existence despite the enactment of P.L. 26-119, which requires the abolition of board, commission, council or oversight body “that has not met in the last 12 months.
Some commissions, boards and councils have yet to be empaneled due to difficulties in recruiting due to several factors: individuals do not want to submit financial, private information; they do not want to undergo what may be grueling confirmation hearings; there is an insufficient pool of knowledgeable, experienced individuals willing or able to serve on boards or commissions; and the time commitment required for such service is daunting.
“For these reasons, many of the boards and commissions lack appointments, they lack a quorum, and they haven’t convened in years,” the committee noted.
The committee also recommends the downsizing the representation in many entities, which have “ridiculously high numbers.”
“In short, this outdated bureaucracy breeds inefficiency, wastes resources, diminishes the potential of human capital, generates tedious procedures and counter-productive leadership hierarchies. Mission achievement and customer service suffer,” the report said.
Recommended for abolition
Commission on the Status of Women
Council on Post-Secondary Institution Certification
Guam eHealth Collaborative
Guam First Commission Advisory Council
Guam Grand Prix Commission
Guam Highway Commission
Guam Multi-Purpose Community
Stadium Complex Commission
Guam Planning Council Guam
Procurement Advisory Council
Guam War Reparation Commission
Guam Workforce Investment Board
Guma Honra Commission
Komitea Para Tiyan
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Human & Civil Rights Commission
Veterans Cemetery Task Force
Recommended for consolidation
Alcohol Control Board; Guam Gaming Commission; Guam Mixed Martial Arts Commission; and Guam Unarmed Combat Commission
Department of CHamoru Affairs; and CHamoru Language and the Teaching of the History and Culture of the Indigenous People of Guam; and Kosas Board of Advisors; and Kottura Board of Advisors; and Historic Preservation Review Board
Commission on Decolonization for the Implementation and Exercise of CHamoru Self Determination; CHamoru Registry Board; and Decolonization Registry Board
Council on Mental Health and Substance aka the Advisory Council; and Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center Advisory Council; and Guam Mental Health Planning Council; and Prevention Education and Community Empowerment (PEACE) Council
Department of Integrated Services for Individuals with Disabilities (DISID); and Guam Developmental Disabilities Council; and Guam System of Care Council for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbance
Guam Ancestral Lands Commission; and Guam Land Trust Commission
Guam Council on Youth Affairs; and Guam Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee
Guam Health Collaborative; and Guam Health Coordinating Council
Northern Guam Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Directors; and Southern Guam Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Directors
Following boards and commissions considered overstaff and the corresponding number of members
Agricultural Board of Commissioners(9 plus ex-officio members)
Board of Allied Health Examiners (11)
Commission on Decolonization for the Implementation
and Exercise of CHamoru Self-Determination (11)
Guam Banking and Insurance Board (9)
Guam Board of Nurse Examiners (9)
Guam Developmental Disabilities Council (28)
Guam Early Learning Council (22)