Senate President Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota) invited yesterday afternoon Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and Attorney General Edward Buckingham to this morning's Senate session to discuss the governor's executive order placing the NMI Retirement Fund under a state of emergency.
More lawmakers now support amending the EO to “put in writing” the Fund's concern that the pension agency's assets will not be used for other government programs and services.
Manglona said senators have “many questions about the reorganization plan” and would like the Fitial administration to explain its plan.
The Senate will discuss the governor's Fund EO and may take action on it today-either to amend or reject it.
During yesterday's meeting between Senate and House of Representatives members and Fund administrator Richard Villagomez and legal counsel Christopher Timmons, along with members of the Commonwealth Retirees Association, more lawmakers expressed support for amending the Fund EO.
Senate Vice President Jude Hofschneider (R-Tinian), Rep. Ray Tebuteb (R-Saipan), and Rep. Trenton Conner (R-Tinian) separately said that while the Fitial administration has been saying it will not use Fund assets for purposes other than pension, they would still like that statement included in the governor's EO, as requested by the Fund.
Others like Senate floor leader Pete Reyes (R-Saipan), however, said they'd rather it be the administration that will amend the EO, not the Legislature.
Sen. Jovita Taimanao (Ind-Rota), for her part, said she also supports amending the Fund EO, and also hopes that the governor will retain current Fund administrator Villagomez, to become director of the Fund when the pension agency is placed under the Department of Finance.
The Fund wants clarification that trust assets will be kept separate from assets of the CNMI government or its agencies and ensure at least $13 million annually in employer contributions.