GUAM GOVERNOR, ATTORNEY GENERAL BATTLE IN COURT

By Steve Limtiaco

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Oct. 10) - The governor is tired of being sued by the island's elected attorney general and he has asked the Supreme Court of Guam to make him stop.

Attorney General Douglas Moylan on Sept. 29 sued the governor to force him to appoint members to the government's Procurement Appeals Board. He also is locked in a legal battle with the governor in an effort to block the governor's attempt to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars on the bond market, which the governor said is needed for the government to pay tax refund checks, retirement contributions to allow employees to retire, vendor payments and other obligations.

The Superior Court of Guam has ordered the governor to appoint members to the Procurement Appeals Board by Oct. 13 or to tell the court why he has not. The board is supposed to resolve complaints from vendors who attempt to sell goods or services to government agencies.

Moylan has a "personal desire to run the government," according to Gov. Felix Camacho, who yesterday filed a "petition for a writ of prohibition" with the island's highest court.

Camacho asked justices to force the Superior Court to dismiss the procurement board case, stating that the attorney general does not have the power to compel the governor to execute the island's laws.

Among the many issues raised by the governor is that the attorney general serves as the chief legal officer for the government of Guam and the procurement lawsuit appears to violate the attorney general's ethical duties.

The governor's petition states that the governor is the attorney general's client, but the attorney general selectively chooses when he will recognize the rights of his clients.

Camacho also issued a written statement, accusing Moylan of trying to run the government himself.

Moylan, who yesterday filed documents opposing the governor's petition, said his goal is to ensure the law is followed.

He said he was surprised by the governor's petition to the Supreme Court, because he had been working with the governor's attorneys on a plan to appoint members to the procurement board. Moylan said he still is willing to resolve the procurement issue out of court, despite the government's request to the Supreme Court.

"I have a responsibility as an elected attorney general to ensure the laws are being followed. That's the focus of what's going on here," Moylan said. "The law provides that the governor put in a Procurement Appeals Board. We're almost one quarter into the administration, and it hasn't been put in."

Moylan said the absence of a Procurement Appeals Board has forced his office to address procurement complaints.

"I shouldn't be in this -- micromanaging everything. It should be the procurement appeals board, an administrative body, dealing with this," Moylan said.

As the island's first elected attorney general, Moylan is treading untested waters in terms of the relationship between his office -- which used to be an appointed Cabinet position -- and the administration.

Camacho, in his written statement, said he has asked justices to clarify the attorney general's powers and authority.

"Without clear directions from the Supreme Court, I fear that Attorney General Moylan will continue in his irrational and unreasonable conduct to the detriment of the people of Guam," Camacho is quoted as saying.

October 10, 2003

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

 

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