Government agencies are temporarily barred from making decisions on the hiring, reassignment, transfer, and payment of employees who belong to excepted civil service positions following disclosure that the new law that gives autonomy to the Personnel and Budget Management and the Civil Service Commission office does not have oversight on excepted civil service personnel.
Commission executive director Andrew Orsini explained this to Saipan Tribune yesterday, saying an emergency regulation that will provide the commission board authority over this personnel classification has been proposed.
Public Law 17-80, which was signed in August last year, established a non-partisan and independent Civil Service System. This law also repealed provisions of Public Law 13-1 regarding excepted service personnel regulations.
Orsini said that since the passage of P.L. 17-80, the commission lost its authority over excepted civil service employees, defined as “employees who perform special, unique and essential functions for the public interest.”
Saipan Tribune learned that these employees, many of whom started work on Aug. 31, 2012, have not been paid because the Office of Personnel Management lacks the statutory or regulatory framework to finalize their contracts. If payments were made to some of these employees, this was made without regulatory approval.
Orsini said there's “quite a number” of excepted employees who have been waiting payments for their services since August.
Under the P.L. 17-80, the CSC has currently no authority to terminate an excepted service employee for cause. Similarly, there is no mandate to maintain a drug-free workplace as well as no prohibition against sexual harassment in the workplace-some of the controls that were in the old law.
According to Orsini, without an amendment to the new law or an emergency regulation that will cover excepted service personnel, the government has no authority to regulate these employees and their conduct.