The Department of Administration is calling on the Department of Education to explain their shortage in utilities and net payroll, considering they are, and have been, receiving the weekly allotment agreed upon earlier this year.
In February, Deputy Superintendent of finance Taling Taitano told the media that they “asked DOA to release about $4 million per week to cover payroll and other costs.” DOE and DOA agreed that each week the education department would receive $3.8 million a week.
“Each week, DOA has provided DOE with AT LEAST that amount that we agreed upon,” DOA Director Christine Baleto stated.
It’s unclear, then, how Taitano seems to be surprised by the cash flow and it seems like she’s playing the victim card when in actuality, DOA is abiding by the agreement. Based strictly on the agreement, DOE would have received $197.6 million. DOA, from October 2015 to September 2016, gave DOE more than $210 million as of yesterday. (That comes up to about a quarter of the Fiscal 2016 budget for the entire government.)
She added that DOA prioritizes DOE:  “We would provide extra whenever we were able to. So it was confusing, when last month, they said they were going to get utilities disconnected because they didn’t have any money.”
Baleto said DOE advised that they are using the entire allotment for their personnel cost, though not 100% of personnel is locally funded.  Approximately 14% of personnel costs are covered by federal funding.  This equates to about $2 million a month. 
“Although it is understood that they need to wait for reimbursement, when these do come in it should be used for essential operational costs such as utilities,” Baleto stated.  “This was not done.”
In August, DOE’s financial team said it’s May-June utilities bills hadn’t been paid and that the power and water services to the schools were going to be disconnected unless the utilities agencies received immediate payment. DOA paid the agencies directly to ensure the payment was made and avert an operational crisis during the first month of the school year.
Governor Calvo said Taitano isn’t new to DOE and should understand priorities. She was hired years ago by now-Senator Nerissa Underwood to oversee Guam DOE’s finances.  And in 2011, after Senator Underwood’s departure from Guam DOE, Taitano served as acting superintendent. He also points out, however, that Taitano is an officer for the Democratic Party.
In this election season, I’m curious if this media sensation isn’t being used for political gain and maybe she’s using her position at DOE to her political advantage,” he stated.
DOA noted that they consistently communicate with DOE to ensure they’re on the same page, particularly at time when cash flow is short and they could only provide the minimum $3.8 million. Baleto said they will continue to meet, particularly going into the new fiscal year “so they can avoid any misunderstanding or miscommunication that could lead to utilities being cut.”

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