GUAM LACKS ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT

Editorial

LEADERSHIP
Pacific Daily News
HAGATNA, Guam (Nov. 1) – Most gubernatorial administration haven't lived
up to what this community needs in terms of accountability and
transparency.

The people of this island need for the next governor of Guam to change that pattern. We need the next administration to be committed to holding itself and all government employees accountable for their actions, and we need for it to be completely open and transparent.

At its simplest, accountability means following the rules, and holding those who don't responsible for their actions. That means an end to the traditional GovGuam mentality -- pointing fingers at others, trying to sweep problems under the rug, and ignoring wrongful actions, hoping the public in time will forget.

This community is all too familiar with government officials who don't follow the rules. One only has to look at the many wrongful and illegal procurement matters that have been allowed to stand, with those responsible not being punished or admonished in any way. Instead, the "system" is blamed (yet nothing is done to fix the allegedly broken system).

We've also experienced far too many instances in which money was mishandled or misspent, or plans not followed through. Government managers and employees responsible aren't held accountable for these failures. At worst, they've simply been transferred to another agency.

Most people don't trust the local government because its officials have given them little reason to do so. The next governor can and must change the situation, and can only do so by practicing, not just preaching, true accountability.

The next administration also must be more forthcoming, open and honest with the people it represents.

All officials must be well versed in open government laws, the Freedom of Information Act, and Guam's Sunshine Act. They must not use statutes to delay the timely release of information that should be public. They need to be as open to sharing information they may see as negative as they are when they want to trumpet what they see as positive.

The next governor also needs to move the government into the 21st century. Information must be as obtainable on the Internet and electronically as it is in paper form, to increase accessibility and openness.

Accountability, freedom of information and transparency are cornerstones of our democratic, representative form of government, and it's high time the government of Guam lived up to these standards.

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