Guam Village Mayors’ Finances Called Into Question

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Guam Village Mayors’ Finances Called Into Question OPA reports thousands of dollars unverified during 2012

By Amanda Francel Blas

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Nov. 8, 2013) – Village mayors are doing a better job of keeping records of the money they collect and spend, but there still are unresolved issues, according to an audit report released this week by Guam’s Office of Public Accountability (OPA).

About $59,111 worth of deposits and $37,567 worth of disbursements went unverified during fiscal 2012, according to the Office of Public Accountability's report released Tuesday.

"These are just findings from the auditors that show there are some mayors that need to set up their own procedures and policies on reporting," said Angel Sablan, executive director for the Mayors' Council of Guam.

According to Sablan, each mayor's office has its own protocol when it comes to financial reporting.

However, the council is working on developing a consistent reporting procedure to address the issue of funding accountability.

"We're working towards making everybody's reporting the same," Sablan said.

The OPA also suggested that Mayors' Council central office personnel receive training in basic bookkeeping and accounting to help with reporting.

While employees are receiving such training, Sablan said, they're exploring other options to maintain accountability of funds.

"We're looking into getting a contractual bookkeeping service or a technician," Sablan said.

The OPA also found some villages didn't comply with the government of Guam's procurement rules. According to the OPA, 15 of the 19 villages violated procurement regulations.

Sablan said the Mayors' Council has already established a task force concerning procurement regulations and non-appropriated funds.

However, the task force hasn't started working.

The accountability of funds had improved since fiscal year 2011, which yielded more than $100,000 worth of deposits and disbursements that could not be verified. For Sablan, this demonstrated an improvement.

"Some mayors didn't even have a procedure for reporting finances in place three years ago," Sablan said. "We're all working on improving."

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