House Ways and Means now focusing on presenting balanced budget
Citing a lack of time, the House Ways and Means Committee will no longer call Department of Public Safety Commissioner Robert Guerrero to a hearing on his department’s fiscal year 2022 budget.
Committee chair Rep. Donald M. Manglona (Ind-Rota) disclosed in an interview yesterday that the committee has decided to forego summoning Guerrero to go over the DPS budget request as they’re focused now on trying to get a balanced budget by this month.
Manglona said they did request the commissioner to submit a delegation of authority letter and leave form. He said Guerrero did give DPS director of administration Kaye Inos a delegation of authority letter last July 2 so she could answer questions the committee may have about DPS’ budget request. The commissioner also submitted a medical leave form indicating that he would be out for another two weeks, Manglona said.
“So right now, we’re just focused on working on the revised budget and see if there are any significant changes to the departments and all other agencies,” he said.
In the case of the DPS budget, Manglona said they will make a determination based on the initial testimony of the three representatives that appeared before the committee for DPS.
He said there will be no more hearings for the DPS budget because they’ve already heard from Inos.
“Unfortunately, there are some questions that maybe only the commissioner could answer,” he said.
Guerrero did not show up at the June 8, 2021, budget hearing as he was on Tinian, apparently for an emergency that he needed to attend. Inos and two other DPS officials appeared at the hearing.
Manglona then decided to continue the hearing to June 11. But that hearing did not push through after Guerrero called Manglona a day before (June 10) to inform him that he is on medical leave for possibly two weeks and asked to reschedule the hearing.
This prompted Rep. Celina R. Babauta (D-Saipan) to recommend allocating just a $1 budget for Guerrero’s salary in the DPS budget.