Guam senators pass bill mandating enhanced transparency in procurement
Updated: Jun 2, 2021
Guam senators have passed a bill seeking to enhance transparency in government transactions by requiring the administration to file monthly reports justifying any sole source or emergency procurement of goods and services.
“While I am certain that many of the purchases were warranted, requiring monthly reports would be easier for not only the Guam Legislature, but the public as well, to track how the government is spending local and federal funds," said Sen. James Moylan, author of Bill 90-36, which was passed Friday on a 14-1 vote.
Bill 90-36 would amend Guam statute and mandate the monthly submission of records and justification reports whenever the government of Guam engages in a sole source or emergency procurement.
Currently, the law requires an annual report but does not obligate the justification of that expense.
"Instead of waiting until March of 2022 to identify what was expended in June of 2021, we can instil checks and balances and reduce questionable purchases, by attaining more frequent reports,” Moylan said.
Moylan said the bill was prompted by the General Services Agency's March report, which listed millions in purchases made in 2020 through either a sole source or emergency procurement process.
No justification summaries were provided, and some lawmakers had questions, including concerns as to why certain items or services were procured through a sole source process or deemed an emergency, he added.
“We already have many questions with the $117 million that came in from the CARES Act. Imagine how much more we will ponder with the over $600 million from the American Relief Plan," Moylan said.
If enacted into law, he said, the measure would add more transparency in the process. The people deserve the extension of accountability,” added Senator Moylan.
Bill 90-36 was co-sponsored by Sens. Sabina Perez, Therese Terlaje, Joanne Brown, Tony Ada, Chris Duenas, Frank Blas Jr., Joe San Agustin, and Telo Taitague.
“One key component of Bill 90-36 is that along with monthly reports, GSA would now also have to provide justification summaries as to why purchases were deemed qualified as a sole source or an emergency procurement. This is critical, considering that the competitiveness of the bidding process is being lifted,” Moylan said.
“I appreciate the support of my colleagues with the legislation and urge the governor to please consider the legislation as a tool to promote the people’s trust in their government. The community deserves no less," he added.