FRUGAL GUAM LAWMAKER: ‘IT’S YOUR MONEY’

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By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

HAGATNA, Guam (Marianas Variety, Jan. 24) – Guam Senator Bob Klitzkie reported that he had spent only 38.83 percent of the US$295,149 budget that his office received in fiscal year 2005, saving US$180,538 of the allotment.

In his midterm report, Klitzkie also said he never spent public money on any off-island trips and that he spent "nothing" on office janitorial services.

"My wife and I clean the office," said Klitzkie, R-Yigo.

"It’s your money, not mine," Klitzkie stated in his report. "Bob’s Office is small and cheap: US$664 per month. The office is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week and most Saturday afternoons. What you will see is a senator doing the work with as few of your dollars as possible."

The senator said his office here is equipped with "many tools" but acknowledges that it has "few comforts."

"You pay me to do a job, not gather perks unto myself. Bob’s office is a great place to work, but a terrible place to sit around and gab," he said.

"You’ll see computers (for our paperless office, which means no expensive photocopy machine leases) to do work, but no sofas with soft cushions to relax on. No kitchen. No ‘private offices’ in which to have ‘private conversations.’ No big, expensive conference room to show off, nor big, expensive senator’s office," he added.

"All office furniture is GovGuam property transferred from the Guam Legislature," Klitzkie said.

"Why buy new when the Legislature has plenty of old furniture, chairs and desks? My desk is an old five-drawer government desk that had to be raised three inches with wooden blocks," Klitzkie said.

Last year, Klitzkie volunteered to transfer US$300,000 from his office to education and to the Clerk’s Office of the Guam Legislature through two public laws.

Public Law 28-03 re-appropriated US$135,360 to the Public School Library Resources Fund and PL 28-68 re-appropriated US$160,000 to the Every Child is Entitled to an Adequate Public Education Fund.

"Some would say that this is grandstanding for pet projects. Fine. Then so be it. I can’t think of any better priority to direct funding and public awareness to than education," he said.

Klitzkie said he had not missed any legislative session nor missed any vote.

"I have attended nearly all of the public hearings and roundtables held by the other committees," he said as he enumerated his bills that have been enacted into laws.

January 24, 2006

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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