Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero met with the Army Corps of Engineers during her trip to Hawaii on May 13 and asked them to come to Guam and assess the structural integrity of Guam Memorial Hospital.

Leon Guerrero said she met with Lt. Col. Kathryn Sanborn, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers Honolulu District, who told her to submit a request “and they will come out.”

At issue, Leon Guerrero said, is whether to tear down GMH and start a new hospital, or use the same structure and just improve it.

“I’m concerned about (the) safety and quality of the facility,” she said. “Maybe we just need to upgrade, but I don’t want to make that investment until they tell me, ‘The structure’s still good.’”

She also asked the Army Corps for help with flooding problems in Merizo and Umatac, and the soil erosion problem in Santa Rita.

Leon Guerrero said the Army Corps is "aware of what needs to be done." She said she was assured the Army Corps will work closely with the Guam Coastal Management Program and Department of Public Works to help resolve those issues.

Leon Guerrero said the Army Corps of Engineers Honolulu District has authority to approve projects that cost $15 million or less without seeking congressional approval. "So we’re going to try and make sure that our projects are within that (limit)," she said.

Compact-impact formula

She added that during the trip to Hawaii, her chief of staff, Tony Babauta, and chief adviser on military and regional affairs, Carlotta Leon Guerrero, met with Hawaii Gov. David Ige’s staff in an ongoing effort to work out a common Compact-impact formula.

The General Accounting Office has not accepted Guam’s cost estimates for providing services to migrants from the freely associated states, the governor said. “They feel we don’t have a standardized methodology of calculating our numbers,” she said, “and they recommended that we work very closely with Hawaii.”

The governor said the U.S. Department of the Interior has provided a $250,000 grant to the government of Guam to "figure out the methodology" for calculating the costs incurred by providing services to FAS migrants.

The governor said she has asked Carlotta Leon Guerrero to be “very aggressive to get this going” in order to justify increased Compact funding.

Region IX

The governor also spent time in San Francisco as she met with the managers of the Region IX federal agencies who have responsibility for issues on Guam.

“I gave them the vision of Guam (and) gave them what our issues are.” Housing, environmental issues and the H-2B problem topped the list of concerns, she said.