May 19, 2006 – While a third-party fiduciary for the Education Department has been selected, a contract still has not been signed, according to Ira Mills, executive director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Olga Meyers, a representative from the Department of Property and Procurement told senators during an Education, Youth and Culture Committee meeting Friday that she anticipates the final details would be ironed out by next week.
Mills said he could not give the name of the vendor that has been selected, nor how much its services would cost. "We are still in the confidential stages of this process and thus there are very few details that can be shared publicly at this time," he said.
However, Mills did say that there is still some local funding left to pay for the third-party fiduciary, the company that will manage the federal grants for the Education Department, along with federal grant money awarded to the Education Department to subsidize various programs.
He explained that the U.S. Department of Education authorized the use of the federal funds, which goes to local programs within the Health and Human Services departments, along with Education.
Money appropriated by the Legislature in the recent supplemental budget would go to toward the programs while the federal money is being used to pay for the third-party fiduciary. Mills said the funding – which totals $10 million – would subsequently be reimbursed by the USDOE once the fiduciary is in place.
In an attempt to secure more funding, Mills said he approached a USDOE representative and asked if the department would release some of the $21 million worth of federal funds which are currently being withheld from the territory. "I thought that this would make more sense, since we have really been making strides with this process, and we would only have up until this September to spend the money when it's released," he explained.
The request was denied.
When asked, Mills also gave a brief status update on the implementation of the new Enterprise Resource Planning System, which would be replacing the government's current financial management system.
"We are currently conducting change management training for our employees to make sure that they can interface with the system once it's set up," he said. "And we have a very aggressive schedule."
He said that the general ledger part of the system would go live in October, while the payroll and human resources sections would be put in place "sometime next year."
When asked, Mills said enough funding has been secured to complete the first phase of the project, which costs about $3.7 million. "We do anticipate additional costs as we go along, so we will be requesting additional funding in Fiscal Year 2007," he said.
Present at Monday's meeting were Sens. Roosevelt C. David, Davis, Hill, and Malone. Sens. Juan Figueroa-Serville, Neville James and Ronald E. Russell were absent.