FSM compact funding of $175M on HOLD

Hi fellow citizens,

PNI state projects are stalled despite the diligent work of Project managers, engineers, constactors, and architects spending months to design and bid out contracts.

PNI state appointed new project contract review board members, some with no law experience or background construction,engineering or political and social affairs.

How can this happen? Any history would be appreciated. We need to resolve this asap.
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Comments

  • Lihnda dear, are they required​ by law to have those experiences and backgrounds?
    Our islands don't have abundance of experienced​ and backgrounded individuals so we make do with what we have. Support them so they can utilize whatever​ amount of knowledge they have in their possessions​.
  • What is the connection between holding of funds and the new appointments, I am confused. Just tell us why funds is being put on hold.
  • Most of the stalled and delayed in Chuuk were associated with land issues. I think the Land Commission in Chuuk did make things a little bid poorly. They used non certified surveyor to do the job. Most of the so call engineer in Chuuk are non recognize engines by the US government. I hope Pohnpei may nnot have the same problrm.
  • According to this week's Marshall Islands Journal, the compact grant funding for infrastructure is being withheld by the U.S. Department of Interior because "...the FSM government does not have a contract management system in place for overseeing projects."
  • @factsmatter, the contract review board was suppose to oversea contract awards and make sure they are in Pni's best interest, also avoid conflict of interest. I read the marshall's paper and already post it on my social media page.

    CONTRACTS have specific terms sometimes only a lawyer can understand. We all know that they are experts in what is legal, reasonable and deliverable with a little consult from an engineer or architect. Asking for help on a serious job like this is a waste of everyone's time. Just find the right talent and stop putting unqualified people in positions to stall progress.

    Since this is 2017, over 20 YEARS after compact funds were first granted, why isn't there a contract expert working along side these projects? The Pni AG is involved with PMO. I feel we were thrown in with little preparation from every direction. I see people around me getting frustrated and confused as all our work hang in the balance. People looking for jobs are waiting for answers and we're feeling their pressure.
  • @Melvin, we have some qualified and fast surveyors in PNI. Also available for public to hire. That's a touchy subject, people have emotional attachment to land. I am no expert there so can't comment.
  • Is the delay due to the new appointments? how sad! i seems that we (FSM) dont want to progress. Change of board members should not be a reason for such delay. If it is the members of the newly selected board who cause the delay, they should be ashamed of themselves.

    I've always hoped that since Pohnpei is the capital, these kind of developments should not be hindered by petty obstacles such as that. Shame on us all.
  • @sinbad, the new members appointed have not started since we can't get the funds to award the contracts in the first place. FSM is missing a contract management system and neutral parties to oversea the state's projects, i know it sounds repetitive, makes our glorified office jump through hoops in a web of people, NOT experts with no authority over funds to push these project forward.

    It's confusing and sometimes just mind boggling about how this government expect us to operate efficiently. Beaurocratics as it's best. Too many cheifs and not enough captians on a ship. No idea why we need chiefs on a ship... excess weight on a journey through the mist where Sirens (or sea nymph) lure. I need to use that analogy to explain it as it is. Men go mad and jump to their doom overboard while the ship wrecks onto some sharp rocks.
  • FSM gotta do better than this...cmon lets do this FSM leaders!!!
  • @nihandanpei I am not saying that there is none now. But I am saying that that is one of the reasons for most of the delayed for some of the projects.

    In regard to the delayed of the infrastructure funding. The purpose of overseeing progress and accomplishment of a project contract is to ensure that the recipient satisfied with the result, and the donas is please that the intended use of the fund is not wasted. All double safety net have to be put in place b y the recipient of the funding. Example, to ensure accuracy, compatibility, compliance and etc. the recipient of the grand can institute its own inspector to inspect the project inspector job on any given project. That can provide assurance to the donor that the funding is spent on the need accordingly.
  • Another reason is FSM lack of accountability. There is hole the bucket that has not been sealed.
  • @melvin, I know it seems that way with other states but not our office. We are all new, no affiliation with anyone getting bids here and we are VERY transparent about our process of selection with our state and have the law expert, the AG office watching our work to ensure that there is no conflict of interest and that all contracts are in PNI's best interest.

    The contract management system should have been there 2 decades ago. I am sure many have understand the disconnection between FSM and states. I am sure this sector funding is new to everyone but it's not that complicated to know that there's a power game in this case. Ego before work. I hope our leaders would try harder to streamline this process over any other. We are trying to improve the basic needs such as running water, schools and health infrastructure. The government serves the people, friendship travels and other affairs can wait.

    I fail to mention that we suspect that a lawsuit from ABCOR is another reason. They are usually the lowest and RESPONSIBLE bidder. They have been doing this for quite a long time and have all the supplies readily available compared to other contractors. Someone or some people in our national government simply doesn't like the idea of giving the huge contracts over directly. I don't know history between people here and will safely assume it's personal or family fueds. This seems to be a family government. I am tired of seeing a high rankining politician with families in office, how can we make unbiased decisions when uncle is boss or dad is boss' boss?!

    We need to expose families in government and those who could create a one-sided decision. I wanna add the high ranking traditional leaders too. They also have influence regardless of their job title. Lastly, unqualified personnell struggling to understand basics of their jobs and hindering the pace of those professionals working at both FSM and PNI.

    Last comment would be why can't people email and cc everyone involved in a task? Why is there no file server or share drives from FSM to states or official templates in PDF forms in the government? This creates a communication issue and a run around for files that should have been shared. There is no employee handbook or training with all departments procedures in places or written guidelines and procedures. No wonder why people are confused to this day. Missing information everywhere and no data management systems. We can't back track work if we need to. every building is different because there is no standard or building codes established before, maybe there is but not that easy to find on the government website.

    Unlike many, we have sync meetings ensuring everyone in the office knows our individual's tasks and status. I make sure all data are backed up and share. We line up our ducks and hope everyone else does too.

    I am not saying all departments are as bad with sharing. The current laws and court cases are archived well and readily available.
  • The project management office or unit PMO/PMU must be staffed with US certified engineers (civil, structural, architectural, environmental etc) depending on the civil works. The USA members of JEMCO will most like not approve release of funding if these requirements are not met. This has been the trend.

    Many a civil works projects have collapsed because of poor engineering, inspection, design, etc because of the lack of the expertise necessary to ensure quality work, or just simple laziness on the part of those entrusted to ensure quality work.
  • @thruthisthat, you need to talk to our staff. Some projects in the past have leaders pressure the inspector to sign off. 3 of our staff left in 2010 because of that along with collusion from State and national leaders. I listen to some meetings and will tell you that many in our community have no idea what is ethical.

    The design and plans are reviewed carefully, the inspection and contract part is where things get murky, the government cannot impose legal penalties over such actions from some contactors because the work and payment was promised before review and award dates. This practice has been going on for years with no penalties imposed or suspension on future bids.

    There was an inspector, from rumors who takes bribes at state level and sign off on anything. Basically a few key roles who are easy to bend over with money. Not anymore, I agree with precautions and prevetative measure as long as they are neutral parties, not family members, unqualified personnell or anyone history of collusion. Whatever happened to whitecollar crime investigation I heard about years ago?

    All i hear is that FSM needs more baby sitting so we can do our jobs without stealing a piece of the cake.
  • lihndanpei, how many captains would you want on your ship? lol

    I don't think you need more than two. Too many captains may cause the ship to run aground and/or hard to set a more direct course. Each with different course line.

    Better have more chiefs. Deck chief, Engine chief, Electrical chief, Food chief, Fun chief, Money chief, etc. Chief. All come to captain and report condition of their respective department. Otherwise too many captains will keep sailing not knowing ship is sinking or no food while at sea for long time without seeing land.
  • Good one. I was refering to the tradition Indian
    Cheif analogy.

    There is no captain on this ship to honest, the qualified captain is playing the cocktail waitress in the bar serving rum to the crew. Drunken sailors off to the port of Tortuka. Cant help add to the humor part of that last comment. Captain and second mate backup should be two people, no more or less. Maybe better off with pilot and co-pilot analogy.

    I understand in modern Navy terms, cheifs are like department heads. I get the joke.

    The point of the story is that there are too many groups/individuals to go through. Let's see what the contract management system or another review board will bring. The newly appointment from PNI confuses us. No one really know their role specifics for now.

    Let's keep in mind that the group here have over 20 years of experience with US, Guam and other more developed nation, FSM is by far the most hard to deal with.
  • Missing information = lack of accountability.
  • edited April 30
    Right on, rastman!

    Lihndanpei, the board members are not qualified for the job is all that you are saying. Or ke sohte mwahuki kaoros
  • Has the state government explored the few retirees from governments (state or national) who had experiences in reviewing and analyzing contracts and also experiences in dealing with and handling COFA funds, since it's COFA fund that's been on hold.

    Because you're dealing with COFA fund, then OIA/JEMCO would simply required some board members, plus contractors and officials handling the contracts to have experiences ~ otherwise the state government would require to hire, on the side engineers, to perform that part within the contracts.

    If and when we lack experienced and skillful board members, department staff, contractors and etc... OIA/JEMCO would simply impose the holding of funds.
  • @sinbad, two are unqualified and one is an old timer at PNI state, maybe good for the board. I don't have much personal opinion in my job, I do what my job scope requires and look at what makes sense. Integrity and efficiency is what we all aim for.
  • O lihnda dear, you sure are a PROUD micro gurl.
  • Not a "proud gurl" here but a transparent Micronesian and a concerned progressive individual. I am also a mother looking out for my child's future in this government. I'm simply relating what is going on to the rest of the Micronesian community. It's our responsibility to ask questions and share information. Pride is a small part of the love of country.

    People have stopped trusting our government because we cannot share these kinds of information. Small or big, when it's an important role like this, we simply need the best we can find here or abroad.
  • Please don't expect us, the stay still locals, to be as gifted as you are. Give us credit for the great efforts we exerted to be able to, at least, fair good enough in society's ungrateful endeavors​. You don't have to announce to the world that we are a bunch of uneducated fools.
  • @kinen, I understand your views esp. when you read my other comments on LGBT thread. In this thread, I only question these conducts which is a trend going back decades.

    I will add that Micronesia has a lot to give and have thousands of honest and hardworking people in the government who also shared my frustrations. I grew up as a child and witness the country's best years building roads, internet and cable services, the health department deliver dental services and immunizations to schools. There was no question we have hundreds of giving souls doing great work here. The issue here is no transparency in this age of modern technology.

    If I offend you in any way, I'm sorry. We need to push for progress and it sadly involve shedding light in places we all love to avoid. Having COFA funding is a privilege, this is not a make a wish foundation, we need to follow guidelines and policies set forth by US gov't to use the US Funds. These conversations unfortunately are necessary for all to see. I wouldn't be here in Micronesia if it wasn't for this forum.

    Let's all try to take these comments as they are, no personal insults to anyone. Many people's hard work sometimes get overshadowed by these issues. Here are some examples, without these funds, PICS will not get funding to building improvements, covered sidewalks, a multi-center and extra restrooms. Sekere will not get a new waterline to replace the old pipes providing clean water. It's too important for all of us to sit back and say nothing.
  • "two are unqualified one is old-timer". I rest my case.
    Thanks anyway.
  • Got your point there, lihndanpei. Straight up worrisome should this keep keeping on. There's gotta be more louder noise.
  • What has ever happened with two Compact II inherently created beasts namely, PMU and JEMCO? Weren't they created then to be the Clearing House and "Green Light" signals respectively, for disbursement of these funds?
  • JEMCO and PMU should switch to sewage treatment, because it looks like everything they touch turns to shit.
  • 110% agreed to.
  • @kinen, you have become a master of character judgement and I respect you for trying to keep "wauh" in our conversation. Let's just agree that it's a norm to see unqualified people in govt offices. It's very obvious now and I am happy to drop that subject.

    Speaking of PMU, I heard news (closed door rumor maybe) about it's contractor's office was raided a few weeks ago by FBI. Let's hope our home country doesnt make headlines in Guam.

    @coconuts, you need to elaborate on your last comment. I hope we all learn to share inside information to help the newbies get up to date. KP is sponsored by the office under investigation. Any other journalist sources in Guam we can rely on to add comments?
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