Rep. Christina E. Sablan (D-Saipan) brought to the House Ways and Means Committee hearing last Tuesday an Office of the Public Auditor’s vehicle audit in 2020 that stated that some DPS vehicles could not be accounted for, among other issues.
Speaking at the committee hearing that tackled the Department of Public Safety’s budget request for the upcoming fiscal year, Sablan said the audit report identified some issues, including vehicles that weren’t properly accounted for, misuse of vehicles, and other things.
“There’s a whole list of concerns,” the lawmaker noted.
As part of the audit, Sablan said, OPA looked at vehicles from other agencies, but the fact that a significant number of DPS vehicles had been “surveyed” was flagged. Vehicles that are “surveyed” refers to those removed from the DPS’ or other agencies’ fleet and turned over to the Division of Procurement & Supply.
Sablan asked if there has been a department review of ways to improve how vehicles are tracked.
DPS director for Administration Kaye Inos said she has not seen that audit report and is not sure if DPS Commissioner Robert Guerrero has seen that report.
However, Inos said she knows that OPA went to DPS, asking about vehicle information.
Sablan asked if there was a review of how can DPS improve the way it tracks vehicles and make sure that they’re being used appropriately and who is the person to oversee all the issues that were identified by OPA. Inos said she believes it’s the commissioner, the chief of logistics, or maybe internal affairs.
Inos also mentioned that the department incurs $300,000 annually for repairs of vehicles, including the monthly maintenance.
She said Saipan DPS has 144 vehicles that includes motorcycles and command vehicles. Inos said the “surveyed vehicles” are not included in that 144. Inos said there’s a lot of “surveyed vehicles” that are currently at the Division of Procurement & Supply, but that she has no exact number. “Basically they’re out of service,” she said.
The Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Donald M. Manglona (Ind-Rota) will resume the budget hearing for DPS tomorrow, Friday, after Guerrero failed to show up at Tuesday’s hearing.