June 8, 2005 – Ira Mills, Management and Budget director, gave exhaustive testimony at Tuesday's Finance hearings. He stated that he does not believe "in the creation of yet another government agency, without changing the basic systemic processes we have nowincluding the issues of hiring, procurement, and inventory control." Referring to the Senate's call for the establishment of a Central Grants Agency in order to provide locals with additional funds and resources to access more federal grants. Mills further discouraged the motion by stating that present government offices are addressing this concern. "Identifications of funding, the number of employees necessary for such an agency, the consideration of government employees who perform these jobs presently," the director stated, "all these issues must be well thought out before the establishment of a new entity."
Mills illustrated his opinions by promising an electronic solution and future legislation to be introduced in the budget of FY 2006. "Things like Grant.gov and the eGrant application process facilitate the ease and timelessness of this legislation," he said, "and the implementation of an Enterprise Resource System has already been introduced for funding within the budget. At this time, the Bureau of Economic Research has a lot of the information needed, and any agency created should be made a part of this organization instead of another separate entity."
Senators questioned the availability of this information to the public, stating that facts and figures in relation to the issue should be accessible at all times. In response, Mills claimed the advent of a new FMS system would improve accessibility for the Legislature and the rest of the Virgin Islands
The motion to keep the Grants Agency Bill within the committee for no more than thirty days was introduced by Sen. Juan Figueroa-Serville and passed unanimously.
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