Reimbursements totaling more than $46,000 in non-appropriated funds to a staff member at the Agat Mayor’s Office have raised concerns with one senator.
“I write today in hopes that the authority of your office will provide clarity on a concerning situation at the Agat Mayor’s Office,” said Sen. Regine Biscoe Lee in a letter to Attorney General Leevin Camacho. “Over the course of 2019 an individual has received $46,138.11 in reimbursements through Non-Appropriated Funds paid to the Agat Mayor’s Office. More worrying, an individual of the same name is listed as employed at this office in the Fiscal Year 2019 4th quarter staffing pattern. Their salary at the time was $38,595.20, so far below the funds that they reportedly spent.
“During this same time period, another individual with the same name as an Agat Mayor’s Office employee received more than $10,000 in reimbursements.”
Mayor Kevin Susuico responded that his office has followed the rules for reimbursements, which audits can confirm. He’s also inviting the senator and her staff to take a look at the documents that support the reimbursements.
“Our office is audited by the external auditor. And these reports are submitted to the Legislature, to the governor’s office to the Mayor’s Council, Rev & Tax, per their purview. It’s the process that has been in place (for years),” he said.
In response to her comments that the report his office submits is lacking in details, he said they used to submit more detailed reports but they changed that per a request: “You’re only receiving a snapshot because that’s what the Legislature, and the Mayor’s Council and the governor’s office asked for. … They said: Put it on a summarized spreadsheet with a letter and that should be acceptable unless we have questions.”
He said if the senator has questions he welcomes a call from her.
“I reached out to her office … personally to get the documents she needs,” he added. “I have not received a call from Sen. Lee. The only thing I received now, from the media, and not even to my office email, is a question that why we do the things that we do?”
Again, we welcome the good senator to come down to our office to take a look for herself. The files are there, checks are there, the justifications are there. We’re not hiding anything by not submitting the full report, it’s what they requested before to begin with,” the mayor stated.
AG, oversight chairman, public auditor
The senator said the reports offer little or no details that would “justify the frequency or amounts of these payments” and that even in those instances when the justification was noted, those items “raise red flags”:
• Gas for Official,
• Official tire repair,
• Mango Festival Supplies PI,
• Purchase of (2) Agat Coaches Air Fare Tickets.
Lee is asking the AG to review the issue “to determine if any actions were taken, expenditures or otherwise, in violation of law or rules and regulation.”
She sent a similar request to the Office of the Public Accountability, former senator, Public Auditor Benjamin J.F. Cruz.
She also is asking Sen. Jose “Pedo” Terlaje to hold an oversight hearing on the reimbursements.
“Many times for these two individuals, unrelated reimbursements are lumped into a single check,” Sen. Lee wrote. “No explanation for payment was given far too often for my comfort.”