A desk audit on all personnel of the Commonwealth Ports Authority is underway, to determine if everyone is getting the proper salary scale due them based on their job descriptions.
CPA executive director MaryAnn Lizama disclosed that a total of 192 employees work in three airports on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.
“The purpose of the desk audit is to review our existing filled positions to determine its proper allocation level within the position classification and pay system classification plan,” she said. The cost to do this has not been determined yet.
According to Lizama, some employees perform multiple duties, which their pay scale or salary doesn’t match.
The CPA board approved last year a 5 percent across-the-board salary increase for ports employees, including top officials like former executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero and comptroller Derek Sasamoto.
At a recent board meeting, the board found out that this directive has not been fully implemented, with some employees still not accorded the salary adjustment.
“By knowing that not everybody receives the 5-percent increase, I think it’s the mandate [of the new executive director] to make sure that everybody gets the increase,” said board member Benigno Sablan.
Upon assuming the top position of the agency last month, Lizama immediately recommended the conduct of the desk audit. The board approved it.
Lizama admitted that there are still employees who haven’t been accorded the salary hike as mandated by the board. She then vowed to fully implement the board directive in consultation with comptroller Skye Aldan who will certify if funds are available to do it at this time.
Based on the CPA policy and regulations, annual increments and merit-based bonuses are allowed.
Lizama requested that the annual increments be put on hold for now, but to continue providing the merit increase based on employee performance. She, however, pointed out that all these remain dependent on the new budget to be formulated for fiscal year 2014.
Saipan Tribune learned that some employees who did not get the 5-percent pay hike are mostly personnel whose pay levels have already reached Step 12 and cannot be moved up, resulting in their salary being frozen.
This was affirmed by board finance committee chair Frances Mafnas who explained that a Custodial 1 position in the Step 12 pay level cannot receive the 5-percent pay hike anymore because doing so will exceed the maximum pay scale under CPA policy.
“You cannot move them up because if you do, it would be against our policy,” said Mafnas, adding that the only way they can be provided the salary hike is through “bonus or merit increase” as approved by the board. These employees, she said, are entitled to it if their salary is frozen for two years.
Meantime, Sablan pointed out that what the board approved for salary increases last year was not a “bonus” but an adjustment for CPA employees who haven’t had salary increases since 2006.
For board member Barrie Toves, this salary increase should not apply to employees who have had any changes in their personnel actions two years prior to the effective date, or those who have been promoted resulting in the adjustment of their wages.