Where does Administration stand on reorganization?

by Ken Wetmore, KUAM News
Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Legislature will be holding a hearing on the Government Priorities Act of 2005 tomorrow. The measure, authored by Republican senator Robert Klitzkie, originally gave the Governor sweeping powers to reorganize government, but has since been revised after other Republicans expressed concerns. So where does government reorganization stand?

During elections 'government reorganization' is always a catch phrase politicians love to throw around liberally to churn up votes. The Camacho Administration stated during their election campaign it was main pillar of their platform but with less than two years left in office their pledge to reorganize the Government of Guam seems no closer to being fulfilled than when they took office.

While Lieutenant Governor Kaleo Moylan headed a committee that came up with a reorganization plan. The Administration has only submitted two bills - one to reorganize public safety the other to reorganize transportation. Those died when the 27th Guam Legislature left office and so far the Governor's Office has taken no steps to reintroduce the bills or any other in the 28th Guam Legislature.

Senator Klitzkie says his Bill 14, which goes up for a public hearing tomorrow, aims at helping what he describes as a cumbersome process. "The bill gives the Governor the tools that he could use to reorganize the Executive Branch," said the senator, now in his second term. "The bill itself does not reorganize anything but it does give the Governor tools."

Bill 14 essentially allows reorganization by executive order from the Governor, allowing the island's chief executive to abolish agencies and transfer their funds. While even Speaker Mark Forbes felt the original version of the bill gave the Governor too much power, Senator Klitzkie says he has substituted a new version that takes out provisions that allow the Governor to create a department, and says the executive orders must now come before the Legislature for approval. "I have talked to the Governor about Bill 14 and I've talked to others at the Governor's Office, and I think its safe to say they are in favor of Bill 14," he summarized.

In spite of numerous requests this week for an interview on government reorganization, neither the Governor nor his spokesperson have been available to be interviewed for comment on where the Administration stands on reorganization or Bill 14.

The public hearing for Bill 14 is tomorrow morning at 9 in the Legislative Hearing Room in Hagatna.

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