Hagåtña, Guam – Before the Legislature wrongly criticizes its sister branches, it should recognize that it is overwhelmingly guilty of the same conduct it pretends to abhor. The Legislature accuses everyone else of doing dirty work but ignores that it is covered in mud.
Today, the Legislature was wrong on the facts and wrong on the law—ignoring its own conduct and the separation of powers enshrined in the Organic Act of Guam. Subsequent to the onset of Typhoon Mawar, the Legislature passed an additional law authorizing the Governor to fund $50 million in Typhoon Mawar recovery from any available source. The Governor acted as the Legislature authorized and has continued to provide the Guam Department of Education (GDOE) access to these funds, even when GDOE still had over $100 million in unspent federal money for school repairs.
Put simply, the Legislature passed bad law. Now, instead of admitting its error honestly, it is resorting to political extortion in a blackmail budget. This erosion of checks and balances is a threat to the democratic foundation of our government.
To be clear, if Speaker Terlaje and Senator Barnett want to add vital dollars to GDOE’s budget, why did they secure a million dollar budget increase for the Legislature in FY24–while at the same time saying our kids are suffering?
Why have they allowed the Legislature to stash a million dollars or more in unspent, lapsed cash?
And why do they run a branch that expends millions in taxpayer dollars without ever having to answer the public in an open hearing?
At the same time that the Legislature shouts about failed GDOE procurement or the mystery of lapsed funds, the Legislature is seated in a lavish building filled with equipment bought because it is exempt from Guam’s procurement law and carries hundreds of thousands in lapsed funds whose expenses are never accountable to anyone.