Gov. Eloy S. Inos tapped former CNMI resident representative to Washington, D.C. Pete A. Tenorio to be his senior policy adviser, even as the three-week-old Inos administration continues its review of Cabinet members' performances to help decide which ones to let go and retain.
“He works in my office but he works for all of us as well,” Inos said when he announced Tenorio's appointment at a news briefing late yesterday morning in the governor's conference room.
Hours later, the governor's office announced that Inos also tapped former senator Maria Frica T. Pangelinan to serve as a member of the Marianas Public Land Trust board of trustees representing Saipan. Pangelinan's appointment now heads to the Senate for advice and consent.
Inos said Tenorio's years of public service experience in different capacities will be an asset to his administration.
Tenorio is a former CNMI resident representative to Washington, D.C., former lieutenant governor, former member of the Congress of Micronesia, and a member of the Marianas Political Status Commission, which negotiated the Covenant that established the relationship between the Northern Marianas and the United States. He replaces Dr. John Joyner as senior policy adviser.
One of Tenorio's first tasks is to review a comprehensive Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. sustainability report and recommendation prepared by departing members of the U.S. Commissioned Corps Hospital Assistance Team.
He is also tasked to review the federal immigration transition period, which is supposed to end on Dec. 31, 2014.
Hours after yesterday's interview, the administration confirmed sending the governor's letter to acting U.S. Labor Secretary Seth D. Harris, formally asking for a five-year extension of the transition period. This will allow the CNMI to continue to have access to over 12,000 foreign workers to help run the economy.
Tenorio later added that he has also been asked by the governor to work with Northern Marianas College.
“If the [NMC] board wants the governor's office to be of any help. about the upcoming review of the accreditation status. We want to see the college succeed and accredited permanently. It's a priority for the governor,” he told reporters.
He also said he looks forward to working with Delegate Gregorio Kilili Sablan (Ind-MP) “to try and move the Commonwealth agenda in the right direction.”
“There's a compelling need to work with him. We've been confronted with locking horns and confrontation and arguments between the congressman and the previous occupiers of these offices. I think there's a need to stop that. There's no other way to improve the situation.but by working together. That will be a very important part of our agenda, to be more cooperative.to have one position as much as possible,” he said.
The federalization law also replaced Tenorio's former office by a nonvoting delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the first election for the delegate seat, Tenorio lost to Sablan by 357 votes.
Inos also said he and Lt. Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider continue to review the performance reports that Cabinet members and governor's appointees submitted.
The governor has so far confirmed only a few Cabinet members and appointees that will be staying on. There are others that he wants to meet to discuss their performance reports, including Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Melvin Faisao as of yesterday afternoon.
“We're going to be meeting with all the folks. It's not enough for me to just look at the report and make the decision. I need to give them the benefit of discussing the report,” Inos said later.