Amid concerns about possible release of pink slips or termination letters between now and Sept. 30, the Fitial administration said it has no definite time frame at this time on “right-sizing” the government.
Press secretary Angel Demapan said yesterday that right-sizing the government would hinge on an expanded desk audit and the availability of jobs in the private sector.
Demapan said the administration would like to expand the desk audit that was done for the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and the Department of Public Safety “to other departments and agencies, but funding is also an issue.”
“One of the things being considered is to seek out available funding opportunities through federal grants to fund such desk audits,” he said.
Demapan said what Gov. Benigno R. Fitial said in a recent interview on radio station KWAW is that “he agrees that the government should be right-sized.”
“However, he also stressed the importance of elected leaders working together to strengthen the economic condition of the Commonwealth by the creation of a successful and thriving private sector with more attractive jobs for our people. The governor does not want to simply see government employees laid off without any alternative options at all. Thus, he would like to work towards making sure that there are jobs in the private sector that can embrace government employees who would be affected by the realignment of government services and personnel,” Demapan said.
Fitial called on the House and Senate to another leadership summit next week to address the economy, the NMI Retirement Fund, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., and utilities.
Rep. Joe Palacios (R-Saipan), in a separate interview yesterday, said the CNMI can learn from Guam's model and experience. He said Guam's financial success is mainly because of its enforcement of its laws and rules.
Palacios cited the Guam government's enforcement of a law that allows automatic deduction from the paychecks of government and private sector individuals for amounts they owe the government.
“Here in the CNMI, we also have other bills that would help generate revenue to help our economy, but they are either sitting idle or opposed for political reasons and without providing alternative solutions,” he said.