September 19, 2005
Some 15K junk cars in NMI
There are about 15,000 abandoned vehicles in several sites in the CNMI, which could pose a health and environmental hazard, according to a Department of Public Works Division of Solid Waste Management official. Program manager Robert Jordan said the junk cars are not only eyesores but might also contain oil and other harmful chemicals and potential pollutants that could leak and endanger the environment. “Junked vehicles could leak out coolants, oil and lead batteries,” he said, adding that the number of abandoned cars has been increasing throughout the years.
High fuel prices impact water firm
Saipan’s leading ice and water company, Saipan Ice Inc., will shut down its commercial freezer services beginning Oct. 1 as part of the company’s cost-cutting measures to cushion the impact of rising fuel prices. Saipan Ice general manager Ador Songcuan said the company has been cutting down on other aspects of business operations, including that of its ice plant. Songcuan said the company had to resort to drastic cost-cutting measures so it would not have to raise its prices.
September 19, 2006
600 exempted from austerity
About 600 public sector employees have been exempted from the austerity holiday law, which cuts government workers’ pay by 10 percent.
Acting Gov. Timothy P. Villagomez, in submitting the names of exempted employees to the Legislature, said the list is subject to change. “The Executive Branch will monitor the duties, responsibilities and performances of the exempted employees. Should any of the positions be deemed non-critical at a later time, the respective employees will become non-exempt. Likewise, should other positions become critical, a supplemental list shall be forthcoming,” Villagomz said. The list included 369 from the Department of Public Health, 80 from the Department of Corrections, 34 from the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, 17 from the Department of Public Works, and 15 from the Division of Environmental Quality.
NMC gets 5 off-island applicants for presidency
The search for the Northern Marianas College’s next president has caught the attention of off-island applicants. The Board of Regents reported last Friday that five mainland applicants have submitted their resumés. In a meeting Friday afternoon at NMC, the Presidential Search Committee told board members that they have received five application letters from prospective candidates from the mainland and one from the CNMI. Regent Elaine Hocog-Orilla said that the group has been very active in disseminating the requirements to the community. She said the committee has advertised with two newspapers in the CNMI and tapped the power of the Internet in searching for the next president.
September 19, 2007
Wage increase looms for resident workers
Resident workers will get the equivalent of in-kind benefits given to foreign workers under new regulations proposed by the Department of Labor. The proposed regulations implement the Resident Workers Fair Compensation Act. They apply to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Under the proposed regulations, employers that offer benefits such as housing, food, and transportation to alien workers must offer either the same in-kind benefits or a net cash equivalent to local workers. Except for medical benefits, the option to accept the benefits in kind or in cash is up to the employee. For medical benefits, the employer will choose.
Labor seeks to implement OPA jobs study advice
The Department of Labor published proposed regulations yesterday implementing the Public Auditor’s jobs study report. The proposed regulations have a 30-day public comment period and may go into effect as early as October 22, 2007. The Public Auditor’s jobs study report, issued on May 31, 2007, recommended increased limitations on the use of foreign workers in certain job categories so as to promote the employment of U.S. citizens in those jobs. Based on a lengthy investigation, the Public Auditor found that qualified local residents are available for these jobs or can be trained within a relatively short period of time.