Cooperation with Legislature on Buildup Continues
Administration Offers Insight, New Information at Oversight Hearing
Press Update: February 16, 2011
The Calvo Tenorio administration offered new information and insight on the military buildup yesterday morning at the Guam Legislature. Calvo Tenorio administration officials made a presentation at an oversight hearing called by buildup committee chair Senator Judith Guthertz.
“There is going to be more cooperation and more transparency between the Department of Defense and the Calvo Tenorio administration,” Buildup Office Director Eddy Reyes said.
Civilian Military Task Force, Civilian Military Coordination Council, and Guam First Commission
One of the topics covered at the hearing were three similar, but distinct bodies tasked with some oversight of the military buildup. Currently, the Civilian Military Task Force (CMTF), the Civilian Military Coordination Council (CMCC), and the Guam First Commission (GFC) have overlapping responsibilities, but have yet to interact with one another.
Citing an evolving organizational chart, Reyes expects the GFC to assume the CMTF. The task force will be used as the technical arm for the commission. Lawmakers, including Senator Rory Respicio appreciated this stance on the organization of these two groups.
Governor Eddie Baza Calvo is in the process of empaneling the GFC, and is awaiting the designation of several members from the community before calling its first meeting.
Meanwhile, the CMCC will hold its next meeting in March; it will be open to the media and public. The Calvo Tenorio administration does not expect this council to establish policy.
“Recently, three intersections suffered heavy traffic because of road construction. That’s what the CMCC will try to prevent,” Reyes said. “We will identify the problems early on and prevent them before they begin. That covers infrastructure, the environment, and social impacts. This could even result in the re-sequencing of projects.”
Funding and Record of Decision.
Funding and the Record of Decision (RoD) were also discussed. The just-released budget submission from President Barack Obama earmarks $33 million for the buildup outside the fence in fiscal year 2012. This figure is the first round of money for improvements. In total, about $691 million is planned for socio-economic projects. An additional $959 million will be used for infrastructure improvements for both the civilian and military populations.
“There will be a military buildup. All the components of the RoD will be implemented. The peak of the construction phase will be about 2017. These are required assumptions planners are using to move forward with their projects,” he said. “As the schedule slows, and the projects get delayed, more money is needed, so it is in the federal government’s best interest to dramatically increase the funding they allocate to this buildup.”
Reyes added he expects a supplemental RoD for deferred decisions contained the in the RoD released last year.
As the hearing continued, administration officials provided their insight into promises made by the Department of Defense, specifically members of the department who have visited Guam. During a meeting between Governor Calvo and Under Secretary of the Navy Robert Work, several agreements were reached:
– There should be one single point of contact from DoD for the buildup
– Guam chooses a negotiating team to meet with DoD
– Messages to the public from DoD are not contradictory
In addition, Secretary Work announced four “pillars” of the buildup:
– One Guam approach (improving quality of life)
– Green Guam approach (energy efficient)
– Unimpeded access to PÃ¥gat village
– Net Negative of the DoD footprint
Reyes told senators the Calvo Tenorio administration will work diligently to ensure these promises are kept, verified, and acted upon in the best interests of Guamanians.
Reyes also revealed more than $12 million in grant money from the Office of Economic Adjustment was given to the previous administration for planning work the government of Guam did for the buildup, most of which has been spent. Many senators present took exception to the sum, including Senator Guthertz. She announced plans to request the Office of Public Accountability to conduct an audit into the matter.
“Was this money used as a personal piggy bank? There was no sharing of information, no submission of needed legislation, no transparency for more than $12 million in grant money. And there was no report of deliverables on how the money was spent,” Senator Guthertz said.
Governor Calvo’s Chief Policy Advisor Arthur Clark supported the proposed audit.
Finally, Senators and administration officials discussed the pending programmatic agreement. Calvo Tenorio administration officials also shared they have been consulting with not only the Department of Defense, but also other parties interested in the programatic agreement, including We Are Guahan, Guam Boonie Stompers, Fuetsan Famalao’an, and other community organizations. Officials expect an amended draft soon, and advised the DoD to give all consulting parties two weeks to review and comment on any changes made.
Reyes also announced Lynda Aguon, who has been acting as Guam’s State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) has been formally designated to that role by Governor Calvo.
“With the collaboration and cooperation between Admiral Bushong and Governor Calvo, combined with their commitment to transparency of information we’re going to see noticeable improvements in the buildup process as a whole,” Reyes said.
Cooperation with Legislature on Buildup Continues