Joe Murphy, editor emeritus at the Pacific Daily News and my neighbor, wrote an excellent piece published in yesterday’s editorial page. He’s right too – GovGuam has habitually fallen prey to shoddy work from contractors. The Oracle system boondoggle is an excellent example – $4.5 million for a software system that never worked. But the most glaring example of the government’s ineptitude is the troubled Southern High School in Agat. It was touted for years as a state-of-the-art facility, a shining example of GovGuam’s commitment to education. I am amazed that people aren’t in jail for the mess that was created down there. It took the contractor years to complete the project, overbudget and late. Despite the extra money and time, the swimming pool doesn’t hold water, the athletic fields are unusable, the air conditioners don’t work, water service is sporadic, mold fills the building, and several classrooms reek and are abandoned. The place is a mess, and yet nobody is held accountable for that disaster.
I completed my 2002 tax return last night. According to my calculations, I have a sizable due refund this year – and that depresses me greatly. Odds are good I will never see that money – GovGuam has taken it, and will never give it back.
For the ten years I have lived on Guam, not once have I received a refund check in a timely manner. In fact, in 1994 I was interviewed by Guam Cable News about this very problem. Nothing has changed in ten years; in fact, it has gotten worse. For several years in the late 90’s, I received my refund check in late October. And I usually file late February. Sadsacks that waited for April 15 had to wait until January to get their money. Last year I filed on February 12th. I am still waiting for that refund. Since GovGuam is about to crumble into bankruptcy, I doubt I’ll ever see that money. It just boggles my mind that this problem has continued for ten years. For ten years the government has not had enough money to meet its obligations, and nobody has done a damn thing. Shame on all of us.