Guam – Why has the Guam Fire Department launched an internal investigation into allegations that E-911 funds were misused? That’s a question that Public Safety Committee Chairman Senator Adolpho Palacios is asking because, he points out, the expenditures were authorized by law.
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Earlier this week, an un-named Guam Fire Department employee filed a complaint with Guam Police alleging former Chief Dave Paredo and Administrative Service Officer Marilyn Aflague mis-appropriated more than $200-thousand dollars from the Emergency 911 Fund, spending thousands of dollars on computers, fire and rescue crash kits and other purchases not directly related to the 911 system.
And Thursday, GFD Spokesman Captain Andy Arceo acknowledged that Acting Chief Ray Perez has authorized an internal investigation into the allegation.
But Public Safety Committee Chairman Adolpho Palacios says the expenditures in FY 2011 were authorized by P.L. 30-196, and the expenditures in FY 2010 were authorized by P.L. 30-55. In both cases, the spending was certified by the Department of Administration and the Bureau of Budget, says Palacios.
The Emergency 911 service is funded by a $1-dollar surcharge on your local phone bill. The authorizing legislation requires that the funds be used to maintain and upgrade the system.
But, Senator Palacios says, the Legislature can make changes in any particular year to re-allocate those funds for other purposes, which is what happened in this case.
Captain Arceo however said the only reason why Acting Chief Perez launched an internal investigation is because a police complaint was filed. “It may not even last a day,” said Arceo, “but we have to see if there is any merit to it.”