Gov. Benigno R Fitial named yesterday new acting secretaries for the Departments of Public Lands and Public Works yesterday, and is expected to name a new acting commissioner for the Department of Public Safety today.
This comes as the 90-day appointments for the three posts had lapsed weeks ago, needing new appointees either in acting or permanent capacity.
Fitial named Ramon S. Salas, director of DPL's Land Claims, as acting DPL secretary “effective immediately.” Salas replaces Pedro Itibus, who has been acting DPL secretary since March when the governor removed Oscar Babauta.
In his Aug. 1 memo, the governor also designated Antonio Camacho, director of DPW's Technical Services Division, as acting DPW secretary. Camacho replaces Vicente B. Castro, who was acting DPW secretary since the governor removed Martin Sablan.
Both Babauta and Sablan didn't follow Fitial to the Republican Party. The two remained with the Covenant Party, whose titular head now is Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos.
Press secretary Angel Demapan said yesterday that the designation for acting DPS commissioner is expected today.
Fitial named DPS deputy commissioner Ambrosio Ogumoro as acting commissioner for both DPS and Department of Corrections in March when the governor placed then DPS commissioner Ray Mafnas on administrative leave over complaints against his conduct and leadership, among other things.
Fitial reinstated Mafnas as DOC commissioner but not as DPS commissioner, a post that Ogumoro has since held in an acting capacity.
Inos, when he was acting governor last week, told Saipan Tribune he was reviewing the appointments to see whether the 90-day appointments for the three officials had already lapsed. At the minimum, he said, he wanted to make sure the actions of the designated officials are “official and valid, or legal and binding.”
Fitial also asked for and received the resignation of his deputy special assistant for administration Joseph “Joe” C. Villagomez on Monday. Villagomez is the acting chair of the Covenant Party's Precinct 3 club. His wife Emma is the Covenant Party's treasurer, and their son Rep. Edmund Villagomez (Cov-Saipan) has also not followed the governor to the GOP.