HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Feb. 12) - Guam Waterworks Authority has until the end of the month to start to privatize the maintenance and operation of water wells and booster pump stations, as required by law.

But GWA employees who attended last night's Consolidated Commission on Utilities meeting said they want another chance to prove they can maintain and operate the island's water system.

"For the longest time we didn't have the pilot to steer us in the right direction, but now that we do, can't you go to the Legislature and ask them if they can give us the chance to show we have the capability of running this system the way it's supposed to be?" GWA spokesman Patrick Lujan asked commission members, noting he was asking the question on behalf of many GWA employees who approached him.

A law enacted Sept. 17 requires Waterworks to complete a request for proposals for the work within 60 days, but that never happened.

But CCU member Vincent Camacho said the commission believes enactment starts 60 days from when the commission came into office -- Jan. 1 -- which means the request for proposals should be drafted by the end of this month.

Commission members said they are required to follow the law.

"We understand their point and we know the conditions under which the law was passed, that there has been substantial change in the operation of the utility and they should be given some time," Camacho said after the meeting.

"But on the other hand, it is a law and it is in place because the people have no confidence in the authority to do its job, and like Mr. Craddick said, it's up to the employees to restore the people's confidence."

GWA interim General Manager David Craddick is preparing a request for proposals to outsource repairs to the agency's nine inoperable water wells, Camacho said.

After a request for proposals is issued, companies have 60 days to bid and the agency then has an additional 30 days to award the contract.

Camacho said Craddick has organized a two-day self-review seminar for employees, so they can decide if they are up to the task of producing and maintaining the water and wastewater systems.

February 12, 2003

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