March 18, 2007
1/2 Discount Store closes
One-Half Discount Store on Middle Road closed down last week after its sale to I-Mart supermarket. I-Mart president Chang Neung Sik confirmed Friday that his company has acquired the One-Half Discount Store. The store, which was owned by a Korean businessman, had been operating for six years. Chang, a Korean who has been doing business on Saipan for nearly 20 years, said he would soon open the business under the I-Mart chain. Chang initially ran Fresh Mart stores on island. He stopped Fresh Mart and launched I-Mart two years ago in Tanapag.
CPA can go back to 80 hours but won’t
The Commonwealth Ports Authority can go back to the standard 80-workhour per pay period but it would not do so in view of the ongoing austerity program government-wide. Learning of an $83,000 savings on personnel during the first five months of fiscal year 2007 during a board meeting Thursday, CPA board member Connie Igisomar quipped, “That’s why I’m saying that we don’t have to do 72 hours.” She said that CPA has enough resources to compensate its personnel for the standard work schedule of 40 hours a week. Beginning October 1, 2006, the CPA has decided to adopt a 72-workhour per pay period throughout fiscal year 2007.
March 18, 2008
Engine repair and hot weather trigger rotating outages anew
Rotating outages hit Saipan anew yesterday after the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. failed to produce enough power due to ongoing repair on one of the power engines at the Power Plant 1 in Lower Base and the high power demand brought on by the hot weather. The outages started at 9am. CUC anticipated implementing the load shedding until 10pm last night. CUC Power Division acting manager Gary P. Camacho said that CUC mechanics continue to do maintenance work on engine no. 5 at the Lower Base plant. “As a result of these repairs, the power plants will not be able to generate the required electrical power to adequately meet island demand; therefore, load shedding is required,” Camacho said.
’Current rate of govt spending should stop’
If the spending trend of government agencies is not abated, the Commonwealth’s coffers would be close to bare by the end of the fiscal year, according to Gov. Benigno R. Fitial. In a memo sent to all expenditure authorities Friday, the CNMI’s chief executive referred to the Fund Status Report attached to Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Villagomez’s letter dated Feb. 6, 2008, and said that, by the way things are going, Commonwealth agencies have no choice but to tighten their respective belts. “Per the report, almost all of the business units are expected to exceed budget authority if expenditures continue at the same rate as it has been for the first four months of the fiscal year (from Oct. 1, 2007 to Jan. 1, 2008),” noted Fitial in his memo.
March 18, 2009
Off-island referrals see 27 pct. spike in FY ’08
The Medical Referral Office, which has a non-personnel budget of only $5,172 in fiscal year 2009, yesterday said it is projecting a surge in the number of patients referred off island for treatment as a result of the economic slowdown that forces residents to cancel their private health insurance and turn to the government instead for help. “We are seeing an increase in the number of referrals,” the MRO said yesterday. MRO referred 716 patients to off island medical providers in FY 2008, a 27-percent increase from only 565 patients in FY 2007. As expected, medical referral spending also increased-from close to $4 million in FY 2007 to about $5 million in FY 2008.
Ex-CTC chairman gets 5-year prison sentence
The Superior Court has slapped a five-year prison term on James Michael P. Fitzgerald, the former chairman of the defunct Commonwealth Telecommunications Commission, for stealing $88,202.92 from CTC by issuing unauthorized checks to himself. “Fitzgerald used government funds.he was entrusted with like his own private piggy bank, taking out money whenever he felt like it,” said associate judge David A. Wiseman. Wiseman believes that corruption in any form greatly harms a society or community, especially in the form of a breach of public trust that is vested in an employee or, as in this case, a ranking official working for the government.