Home Meeting notice Vigilance Committee Calls on Officials to Comply with Open Government Law | Guam News

Vigilance Committee Calls on Officials to Comply with Open Government Law | Guam News


The Vigilance Committee, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring government compliance with disclosure laws, draws attention to government entities that it believes have not complied with the law’s requirements on disclosure. open government regarding the publication of meeting notices.

These entities are:

  1. Guam Visitors Bureau
  2. Northern Soil and Water Conservation District Council
  3. Guam Board of Examiners for Optometry
  4. Tamuning Mayor’s Office ‒ Tatuha
  5. Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission
  6. Guam Solid Waste Authority
  7. Serve the Guam Commission
  8. Guam Interagency Coordinating Council
  9. Department of Parks and Recreation

A Jan. 20 letter to the governor and attorney general was the organization’s second call to action, according to Vigilance Committee Chairman Lee Webber.

“In accordance with the Open Government Act, we require any public body that has been found to be in violation of the law to remedy and correct any unlawful actions and provide the public with the awareness and opportunity to comment that they have been deprived of, for example the formal and explicit form the withdrawal of any commitments made, coupled with a disclosure at a subsequent meeting of the reasons why individual members of the public body have taken the positions – by vote or otherwise – that they have taken, accompanied by full opportunity for informed comment by members of the public at the same meeting, whose views are properly included in the posted agenda,” Webber said.

Governor’s office to be reviewed

Krystal Paco-San Agustin, spokeswoman for the governor, said Adelup was reviewing to determine if they agreed with the decisions of the vigilance committee.

“If any boards or commissions we oversee are not compliant, we will work with them to ensure future compliance,” she added.

The governor’s office oversees more than 80 boards and commissions.

Carlina Charfauros, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, said the OAG responded to the Vigilance Committee on Thursday and did not comment on the letter.

The vigilance committee specified the violations of the law on open government in its letter: the publication of the details of the points of the day being non-existent or insufficient; information for viewing the retransmission of regular and special meetings; or compliance with Title II requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

But the most common violation of published agendas is not providing enough detail when listing agenda items.

“When a notice of violation was issued by our committee, a few agencies responded to the lack of sufficient detail in some of their agenda items as “standard agenda items,” but not discussed at the public meeting. These instances of violations are anomalous at best and misleading to the public at worst,” Webber said.

The group also pointed to gaps in the agenda last year.

Empty and without effect

Public Law 36-34, signed into law in June last year, requires agency meetings to be broadcast live. It also requires meeting notices to contain agenda items with enough detail “to inform the public of what needs to be discussed.” Any action taken at a meeting would be void if the terms of publication or dissemination of the agenda were not met.

The Vigilance Committee has indicated that it is aware of councils and commissions that have endorsed their actions taken during council meetings in order to remedy non-compliance with the law. The committee argues that the law is clear that actions taken at non-compliant meetings are null and void, not just voidable.

In this regard, Paco-San Agustin said that until Adelup confirms whether they agree that the reviews were deficient, they will refrain from further comment.

While the Vigilance Committee listed the office of the mayor of Tamuning, the governor’s office does not oversee this office, as it reports to the Guam Council of Mayors.

Angel Sablan, the executive director of MCOG, did not receive the vigilance committee’s letter, but the Guam Daily Post shared it with him for the council’s comment. The MCOG has complied with the updated requirements of the Open Government Act, according to Sablan.

“Individual mayor’s offices have been briefed and briefed on the law. We do not conduct their meetings, so responsibility for compliance rests with the individual mayor’s office. We will once again remind all offices of PL 36-34 “, he added.