Feb. 7, 2000
DPS lobbies for more funds
With limited funds to efficiently operate this fiscal year, the Department of Public Safety lobbied last Friday for additional appropriation with the House Ways and Means Committee just to make sure that there is enough gasoline to keep the patrol cars running on the island. The department's lobbying efforts apparently paid off as House Floor Leader Oscar Babauta said the Legislature will not allow the operation of a critical agency like DPS to suffer. Mr. Babauta said the department's budget for FY 2000 is over $800,000 from the previous fiscal year of $12.4 million. He said the Legislature will give Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio enough flexibility when it passes the budget for FY 2000 before the end of the month so that he can respond to the needs of various government agencies without jeopardizing their services.
Dela Cruz sworn in as Tinian senator
Senator-elect Jose M. Dela Cruz was officially sworn into the 12th CNMI Legislature during the first Senate regular session at the Tinian Courthouse last week. Over 200 guests largely comprised of government officials from Saipan and Rota came to congratulate Senator Dela Cruz. Present were Senate President Paul A. Manglona, the rest of the CNMI Senate, House Speaker Benigno R. Fitial, members of the 12th CNMI House of Representatives, the Rota Eighth Municipal Council and other supporters from Tinian.
Feb. 7, 2001
$4M funding for GHLI sought
Officials of the Northern Mariana Islands Retirement Fund sought anew the assistance of the Legislature to review other possible funding sources in hopes to settle over $4 million debts to at least 295 on and off-island health service providers. Most of the Group Health and Life Insurance Program subscribers are being turned away by different service providers or are being asked to pay up front due to mounting medical bills the agency is yet to settle, program manager Dolores Moore disclosed yesterday. Records showed that the government-health insurance program has outstanding payable of $2,995,486.48 to service providers in the Commonwealth, Guam, Hawaii, and the mainland US to date.
$1.5M lump sum budget eyed for Kagman school
Budget difficulties may force the Public School System to trim down the number of its teachers starting next school year. Without additional funding reinforcement from the CNMI government, PSS disclosed it may have to defer from re-hiring teachers and other personnel in school year 2001-2002. Threats of staff downsizing are probable amid a projected reduction in PSS' FY 2001 fourth quarter personnel expenses in the absence of funds to operate the newly-opened Kagman Elementary School. But a proposed legislation that will set aside $1.5 million in lump sum form to support the operations of the new Kagman campus is targeted to rescue the school system from making use of resources specifically allotted for payroll.
Feb. 7, 2002
’Lure gov't workers to private sector jobs’
House Speaker Heinz Hofschneider yesterday appealed to the business community to help the CNMI government reduce its personnel costs by luring more local workers into private sector jobs. Hofschneider also asked businessmen to work with the government in crafting ways that would attract civil service workers to private sector employment. Talking before members of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, the House Speaker stressed that the only way to alleviate the adverse impacts of the faltering economy is to reduce the number of government workers, whose salaries account for more than 50 percent of public money.
DPW bats for fast release of revised landfill permit
The Department of Public Works has sought the assistance of two federal agencies that may lobby for the speedy release of a revised U.S. permit involving the Endangered Species Act. The department’s move came amid efforts to prevent further delay in starting the construction of the Marpi landfill. This, as the Pacific Drilling Ltd., a partner to the joint venture contracted for the project, expressed readiness to start actual work anytime once the permit problem is resolved. Acting Public Works Secretary Juan S. Reyes said his department has asked the assistance of the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in requesting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expedite the revision of a permit.