The Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority board on Friday approved the immediate hiring of two financial experts on a temporary basis for $42.64 and $24.47 an hour.

The temporary appointments, according to GHURA officials, will fulfill immediate needs while the agency recruits a permanent deputy controller and accountant III, a process that could take up to 12 weeks.

GHURA Executive Director Ray Topasna told the board that the temporary appointments of Frances Danieli as deputy controller and Jericho Garcia as accountant III will help "to beef up our fiscal department" and help minimize or zero out future audit findings.

This comes days after a legislative roundtable on the salaries of GHURA personnel and audits, among other things.

Jildo DeNorcey, GHURA deputy controller, who had been with the agency for 26 years, unexpectedly retired Sept. 30, and the agency scrambled to find an immediate replacement, Topasna said. 

The board adopted a resolution commending DeNorcey for his dedication and contributions to GHURA, and approved Danieli's hiring as a temporary replacement.

Danieli was the University of Guam's interim comptroller, with additional duties, receiving an annual salary of nearly $83,000, GHURA officials said.

With a GHURA management recommendation, the board approved $88,682 per annum or $42.64 an hour pay for Danieli, whom the agency described as having "exceptional qualifications."

Garcia also qualifies to apply for the permanent position once it is advertised, and that position's entry-level salary could be $49,991, GHURA officials said.

Responding to board members' questions, management officials said a "temporary appointment" can be up to six months, with the option of renewal for up to six months.

Garcia used to be with Deloitte & Touche. Topasna said he's excited to have Garcia as another certified public accountant joining GHURA.

Topasna said GHURA will now have a total of four CPAs on its fiscal team.

"We'll be able to do our audits expeditiously," he said, adding that the beefed up fiscal team will further push the agency toward much cleaner audits. "There's been so much progress" over the last two years, he said.

Topasna's salary

Meanwhile, Topasna and Deputy Director Elizabeth Napoli's salaries will not change until the Office of the Attorney General issues an opinion about retroactive salary increases for unclassified employees.

"Pending the receipt of that opinion, actions will still be deferred by the board on what was ratified during the Sept. 11 board meeting, if required," said Sabino Flores, GHURA board chairman.

Contracts awarded

The GHURA board also approved the award of $182,966 worth of contracts for grounds maintenance of all agency properties.

  • $85,910 contract to Flame Tree Freedom Center, for work on public housing units in Asset Management Property Sites 1 and 4, GHURA main office in Sinajana and Guma Trankilidat in Tumon.
  • $81,396 contract to GET LLC, for work on public housing units in AMP Sites 2 and 3.
  • $15,660 contract to Flame Tree Freedom Center, for work on community planning and development properties in Asan, Talofofo and Merizo.

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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