PROPERTY MISSING AFTER GUAM MAYOR LOSES RACE

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By Steve Limtiaco

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 12) - A dump truck, a Chevy SUV and a generator were transferred from Barrigada to Yona before newly elected Barrigada Mayor Jesse Palican took office.

Newly elected Barrigada Mayor Jesse Palican still is taking inventory of the equipment at his office, but so far he has discovered that two vehicles and a generator were transferred to the Yona mayor by then-Barrigada Mayor Peter Aguon.

Palican said a dump truck, a Chevy SUV and a generator were transferred from Barrigada, but it appears other pieces of equipment are still in the village.

"Most of it's still around, but we're still doing our inventory. We're finding things as we go, but it's too premature," he said.

Palican said he would like to get the vehicles back.

"Barrigada funds were spent on it; ... we do need it for support here in our village because it should help out our village, and I'm trying to work with (the General Services Agency), work with the (Yona mayor), and we're trying to do this in good faith."

Palican, Aguon and Yona Mayor Jose "Pedo" Terlaje are all Democrats.

The transfer appears to be a repeat of what happened when newly elected mayors in several villages took office four years ago and discovered that outgoing mayors had transferred vehicles, desks, chairs, canopies and other village equipment to mayors in other villages.

The Mayors' Council receives a lump-sum appropriation from lawmakers each year, which each village divides equally in order to purchase goods and services to benefit the residents of the respective villages.

The island's public auditor in 2001 issued a report critical of those types of transfers and recommended that lawmakers change the law to prevent transfers and to prevent lame duck mayors from draining their office budgets before leaving. None of the changes have been made.

The public auditor recently asked the Mayors' Council to provide a list of any property that is transferred between mayors' offices, as well as information about office budgets and spending. That information was due yesterday.

The former Barrigada mayor did not notify the Mayors' Council central office that he had surplus equipment, said council Executive Director John Blas.

Blas said there is no procedure for mayors to directly transfer surplus property between villages. He said each village mayor's office, for purposes of procurement, is considered to be its own agency, so surplus village equipment should be transferred to the government's General Services Agency, where it will be made available to any other agency in the government.

Blas said if a mayor is interested in obtaining surplus equipment from another village, the mayor must go to the General Services Agency, reserve the equipment and notify the Mayors' Council that it is being acquired. "That way, we know where assets are going between districts," Blas said.

Terlaje is off island for medical reasons and unavailable for comment on the transfer, according to his office staff. He is scheduled to return Jan. 24.

Yona appears to have benefited from property transfers this year, but it lost a truck because of a transfer four years ago.

Terlaje, who took office for the first time in 2001, lost his village dump truck to the Asan/Maina mayor that year because the outgoing Yona mayor transferred it, according to Pacific Daily News files. Terlaje, who managed to cut short other equipment transfers, at the time said there should be a policy in place to freeze equipment for a month before the new mayor takes office.

Former Barrigada Mayor Peter Aguon could not be reached for comment yesterday.

January 13, 2005

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

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