Implied complicity .
Sunday, 22 November 2009 23:48 Editorial
The Marianas Variety
“WE CANNOT continue to cover up for their mistakes and cover for them on all the short falls. We’ve suffered for far too long,” Gov. Felix Camacho said about the ongoing financial crisis at the Guam Department of Education.
The USDOE refused to allow local public education officials to use existing federal grant monies to cover an anticipated shortfall in several program areas.
Implicit in Camacho’s statement is the notion that somehow the governor was able, in the past, to find a way to obfuscate and “cover” the financial incompetence at the largest government agency – so long as it served his purposes.
For years federal officials expressed concerns over interloping local elected leaders in the management of GDOE with the matter finally coming to a head with the fruition of an elected education policy board, which was created by Public Law 26-26.
When he was senator, Camacho was among those who signed the bill that created the independent education board, and removed the governor’s control over the education department.
However, not long after coming into office at Adelup he changed his tune and has repeatedly lamented his impotence to do anything because of the historic federal concerns and policy changes since that time.
Although the two-term governor has been unable to come up with an innovative effort to find solutions for public education – a key platform on which he established his successful run for Adelup twice already – he seems to have little problem with finding a way to block solutions proffered by others.
Assistant Secretary of Interior Tony Babauta and Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo proposed that the Compact Impact fund be tapped to avert a massive layoff that could have far-reaching economic implications.
But Camacho refused to allow the use of Compact-Impact monies, saying it would shortchange vital services in other areas depending on those monies.
This was the same governor who earlier tapped into the same limited critical resource to pay for the construction of a recreational sports center in Dededo.
Compared to education, it seems the joyriding governor has lost his way on the roadmap to success for our students and schools.
It is time for this governor to step aside if all he can do is plan obstacles to progress with little offer of solutions like competent bridge financing for the hard-pressed education agency.
GDOE superintendent Dr. Nerissa Underwood inherited a lifetime of difficulties and needs synergy and support – not silly political grandstanding and empty chatter to help right the course of public education on Guam.
It is time for local officials to step to the head of the class with positive ideas or move to the back before their legacy is topped with a dunce’s cap.