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Education Troubles Point to Need for CFO

The following material is being published, unedited, exactly as it was received via e-mail from the office of the government official named below, as a Source community service. Government office holders wishing to contribute to the bulletin board must e-mail source@viaccess.net. The Source reserves the right to choose what is published.
March 10, 2005 — Delegate to Congress Donna M. Christensen said today that the U.S. Department of Education's call for an outside fiduciary to assist the V.I. Department of Education in managing their federal funds is part of a consistent pattern which underscores the need for a chief financial officer and an integrated financial management system for the territory.
Christensen reiterated her contention that the blame is not to be placed on the individual commissioner or agency head. "The problems are systemic," she said. "It is my belief that it is extremely difficult to administrate in a financially responsible manner and no one, not the commissioners, the Legislature nor any of those that are charged with the responsibility of making decisions have the true numbers."
Christensen said that she continues to push her legislation for financial accountability through the Congress. "Isn't it far better for our territory to take responsibility for clearing up our own affairs rather than have the federal government take control of our agencies one by one?" The delegate maintained that a CFO will not take away the ability of the administration to set budgetary priorities. "It will however make it clear what the consequences of decisions are."
Christensen added that those who believe that her legislation is an unnecessary "airing of dirty laundry in public" are naïve to believe that federal agencies to which we have to be accountable do not have first hand knowledge of the inefficiencies of our system for many years.
Christensen said that the administration's recalcitrant attitude will do far more to raise the specter of colonialism than her legislation ever will.

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