Following the untimely death of Saipan Mayor Donald Glenn P. Flores, Gov. Eloy S. Inos appointed Marian Deleon Guerrero Tudela yesterday to serve as mayor of Saipan for the remainder of Flores’ unexpired term. Tudela was the unsuccessful candidate who received the largest number of votes in the 2009 general election.
The newly appointed mayor is currently in the U.S. mainland, but in a phone conversation with Inos yesterday, she accepted the opportunity to serve out the unexpired term of the mayor of Saipan. She has informed the Office of the Governor that she is expected to arrive on Saipan on or before Sunday. Tudela’s term will begin once she takes the oath of office.
In the meantime, following consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, Ramon B. Camacho, who is chairman of the Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council, shall continue serving as the acting mayor until Tudela is sworn into office.
First, the OAG clarified, pursuant to 1 CMC Section 6502(e), “[i]f there is a vacancy in the office of mayor and less than one-half of the term remains from the date of the vacancy,…the presiding officer of the Municipal Council shall be acting mayor.”
Thus, under this provision, the presiding officer shall continue in his capacity as the acting mayor until the vacancy is filled.
Second, pursuant to 1 CMC Section 5103(a), “[i]f a vacancy should arise in any office of the mayor, and less than half of the term of the mayor remains, the governor shall fill the vacancy by appointing the unsuccessful candidate for that mayor’s office from the previous election, who received the largest number of votes and is now still willing to serve as mayor of that island or islands.”
Thus, under this provision, the governor shall appoint the unsuccessful candidate from the previous election who had the most votes to fill the office of the mayor. When the governor appoints the person to fill the office of the mayor, and that individual is duly sworn in to office, the presiding officer will no longer serve as “acting mayor” under section 6502(e) as there will no longer be a vacancy. (Office of the Governor)