A tax lawyer in Guam was appointed yesterday to serve as trustee ad litem for the NMI Retirement Fund.
U.S. District Court for the NMI designated judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood said the law firm of Civille and Tang will serve as trustee ad litem and that Joseph C. Razzano will serve as the principal representative for the trustee ad litem.
Razzano is a member of the Civille and Tang law firm in Guam.
Tydingco-Gatewood said that Razzano will arrive on Saipan on Monday to meet with the Fund's staff and counsel as well as Fund stakeholders.
Razzano will decide who will serve as the acting Fund administrator.
Tydingco-Gatewood appointed the trustee ad litem for the Fund and its board so it could participate in the litigation of a class action lawsuit filed by Betty Johnson.
The judge made the appointment by invoking the court's broad equitable powers and its authority under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and after examining the qualifications of proposed candidates, reviewing the candidates for conflict of interest, and conducting interviews of the candidates.
She said a few Saipan attorneys were nominated for the position but unfortunately all have conflicts.
In a written order issued yesterday, Tydingco-Gatewood said the trustee ad litem shall have the authority, powers and duties required and necessary over the “person” of the Fund to act on all matters that require board action including the following:
To sue and be sued in the corporate name, and to direct any and all litigation in which the Fund is a party, and to retain counsel to represent it in such matters;
To appoint an administrator or acting administrator to be the chief executive officer of the Fund and to direct the administrator to carry out the policy decisions of the trustee ad litem. The administrator shall be appointed by the trustee ad litem with the concurrence of the court. The administrator shall serve at the pleasure of the trustee ad litem.
To consider and concur or decline to concur with requests of the governor to exempt individual retirees from the prohibition on re-employment by the government of members receiving retirement benefits from the Fund.
To consider recommended decisions of the Fund's administrative hearing officers on matters of appeal of adverse decisions of the administrator, and to accept, modify or reject such recommended decisions to create a final agency action, appealable to the CNMI Superior Court.
To report to the U.S. District Court periodically on the execution of these functions and to seek the authority of the court to carry out any additional functions performed by the Fund board.
Tydingco-Gatewood said the term of the trustee ad litem shall be for the period needed to complete the litigation unless the trustee ad litem recommends that the position is no longer necessary or requests to be relieved or is otherwise terminated by the court.
No lawsuit shall be filed against the trustee ad litem without the court's consent.
The judge said the CNMI government shall pay for the salary and expenses of the trustee ad litem and all persons or entities employed or contracted by the trustee ad litem.