Tamuning, Guam. Committee on Senior Citizens Chair Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr., Speaker Judith Won Pat, Ed.D, and Senator Adolpho Palacios introduced Bill No. 431-31 today which provides for a limited extension to the contract between Department of Public Health & Social Services (DPHSS) and GovGuam Association of Retired Persons/Servicio Para I Manamko (GGARP/SPIMA).
The bill will allow for the continuation of senior citizen services for the comprehensive managements, operations, and maintenance of the senior citizen center provided by the GARP/ SPIMA until the new bidding process is initiated and completed.
The contract that provides services to the Department of Public Health and Social Services, Division of Senior Citizens is due to expire on February 29, 2012. The Department of Public Health and Social Services has not initiated a request for bidding and therefore no new contract has been finalized. In response to a meeting with the Governor’s Office, Department of Public Health, and GovGuam Association of Retired Persons, Senator Rodriguez, Speaker Won Pat and Senator Palacios introduced Bill 431-31. The senator stresses the importance of the continuation of services provided to senior citizens. “Our Manamko are the foundation of our community, and it is our obligation to ensure that there is no interruption in the services that many of them benefit from at the senior centers,” Rodriguez stated.
Senator Rodriguez has also sent a request to Speaker Judi Won Pat to waive the Public Hearing requirement and to call a Special Legislative Session to address the bill due to the urgency of the issue. Furthermore, the bill mandates that the bidding process for the Senior Center Services begin immediately upon enactment of the Act. The authors of the legislation takes due note that the Mayor’s Council of Guam were ready, willing, and able to continue the operations of the senior citizen centers after the February 29, 2012 deadline. However, after consultations with all stakeholders including the Governor’s Office, DPHSS, and GGARP/SPIMA the emergency legislation was necessary to allow the existing provider of 40 plus years (GGARP/SPIMA) to continue to operate the centers until a new contract is awarded . “Speaker Won Pat, Senator Palacios and I have every faith and trust that the Mayors’ Council would have been able to adequately provide the services needed by our senior citizen centers, however we were concerned about the logistical and financial issue they may face. The Mayors Council is considered a government entity and unlike GGARP/SPIMA who is a non-profit organization may be faced with the same financial challenges all other aspects of GovGuam is experiencing. We don’t want this impediment to hamper the Mayor’s when operating the senior centers.” Senator Rodriguez added.