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Moment of truth for SPIMA contract

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GOV. Eddie Calvo is expected to take action today on Sen. Dennis Rodriguez’s Bill 431, which would extend the contract between the Department of Public Health and Social Services and the GovGuam Association for Retired Persons/Servicio Para I Man'amko) for 90 days.

Today is the last day for the governor to take action on the bill. Otherwise, the bill will lapse into law.

The bill also directs Public Health to issue an Invitation for Bid for the operations, management and maintenance of the senior citizens programs, which GGARP/SPIMA has provided for 43 years.

The Legislature voted unanimously for the bill’s passage; however, one lawmaker has changed her mind, saying that since acting Gov. Ray Tenorio signed a memorandum of understanding with the Mayors’ Council, there has been no interruption in services. Therefore, if the governor were to veto Bill 431, she would not support an override.

In a news release, Sen. Mana Silva Taijeron said: "Although Bill 431-31 was unanimously passed by the Legislature, the agreement reached between DPHSS and the Mayors' Council has since proven to be a practical and fiscally responsible solution to the issue. We are now on day six of services to our man’amko being provided by the Mayors' Council, as stipulated by the MOU, and to my knowledge there have been no complaints or stoppage of service."

Furthermore, the senator said if the Governor’s Office chooses to veto Bill 431-31, "I will not support any attempt to override their veto."

Public Health owes GGARP/SPIMA more than $300,000 since October 2011. Even with this knowledge, GGARP/SPIMA continued providing services to the man'amko.

Also, GGARP agreed to operate the senior citizen centers at the reduced rate of $60,000 a month since March 1. This information was revealed during the Committee of the Whole.

Presently, since the Mayors’ Council took over, mayoral staff members are working at the 12 centers, along with former GGARP site managers.

Session is scheduled for March 12 at 9 a.m. If the governor vetoes the bill, Sen. Rodriguez can make a motion for an override. Rodriguez was not available for comment.

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