AG Opinion: Airport awarded contract to contractor without a contractor’s license

The Office of the Attorney General of Guam has issued a legal opinion clearing the way for the Guam Contractors License Board to correct an injustice made against local company JMI-Edison, and to protect the public from an unlicensed contractor that won a contested airport contract.

The Guam International Airport Authority awarded a lucrative contract to off-island company Menzies in 2021. Menzies did not have a specialized contractors license to operate the specific machinery the airport procured the company to handle. The contract was for the operation and maintenance of the airport’s intricate baggage-handling system, which features both mechanical and electrical components.

Part of the airport baggage conveyor system

“It is undisputed by all parties that Menzies is not a licensed contractor in Guam,” Chief Deputy Attorney General Joseph Guthrie wrote in a March 14, 2023 legal opinion addressed to GCLB executive director Ciriaco Sanchez, Jr.

JMI Edison protested the airport’s award to Menzies on the basis of its unlicensed status. According to its challenge, the airport should have realized Menzies needed the specialized license – a C-13 Electrical Contractor sub-classification – because Menzies previously was the baggage handling system contractor for GIAA, and previously was required to have this special license.

The airport dismissed JMI’s protest before JMI took the matter to court. In the meantime, JMI filed a complaint with the GCLB, which has jurisdiction of contractor licensure. The agency initiated an investigation.

“Based on the facts, the CLB investigators have concluded that the work being done by Menzies on the GIAA baggage handling system, and which is sought by GIAA RFP No. 005-FY21, requires a Specialty Contractor’s License in the C-13 Electrical Contractor sub-classification,” Mr. Guthrie wrote. “The conclusion of the investigators is set forth in a written investigation report that is awaiting the decision of the CLB Board of Directors.”

The investigation at one point was obstructed, according to Mr. Guthrie’s opinion.

“In one instance,” Mr. Guthrie wrote, “the Menzies electrician would not permit the CLB to look at the troubleshooting log for the baggage handling system without prior approval ‘from the higher ups.’ Although CLB investigators were able to photograph the electrical panels that power part of the baggage conveyor system because of ‘passcode problems’ with the security door.”

The GCLB board of directors has been unsure how to proceed with that report and the Menzies license controversy because of the existing court litigation. Until last week, when the OAG opinion was released.

“[S]ubstantial evidence exists to support its conclusion that under Guam law, the scope of work described in GIAA RFP No. 005-FY21 requires that the selected offerer hold a Specialty Contractor license from the CLB in the C-13 Electrical Contractor sub-classification,” Mr. Guthrie wrote in his conclusion to the OAG legal opinion, an opinion JMI has maintained since 2021.

“Further,” Mr. Guthrie concluded, “…it appears appropriate that the CLB begin enforcement proceedings to protect the public against this unlicensed contractor, and to assess fines as required by Guam law.”

Both the airport and the GCLB boards are scheduled to meet separately and address the matter.




  • What is going on with Govguam?

    We read up about the Eagles Field Lease saga that is still on the table; about the Guam International Airport debacle, where a Baggage Handling Contractor was providing service to the Air Port without a Contractor’s License; and the fiasco of the Agana Swimming Pool, and so on.

    Why couldn’t Govguam get their act together?

    Where is the contracting guru, who claims he had 40 years of Contracting experience? Govguam should be wise enough to get him in the mix of all these matters to avoid mis-steps and a back and forth rendition.

    “Come on Man”, “you know the thing”! Let’s get it together!

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