All of the four commissioners of the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission now have an annual salary of $75,000 each, with two members previously getting only $60,000 now earning the same amount as their peers.
The commissioners’ salary adjustments are among the changes made to a three-week-old Tinian local budget ordinance. Another change is that these commissioners, together with the administration personnel of the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission, are no longer exempted from any local government shutdown should a new budget fails to be signed on time.
Lt. Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider signed into law Tinian Local Ordinance 18-2 late Wednesday afternoon, amending Tinian Local Ordinance 18-1 that was signed only on Oct. 9 that ended a partial government shutdown on Tinian since Oct. 1.
The new local law does not change Tinian’s projected resources of $3.841 million for fiscal year 2014, but only moves around some money for public programs, among other things.
The four-member Tinian and Aguiguan Legislative Delegation chaired by Sen. Frank Borja (Ind-Tinian) passed the amendment bill on Oct. 22, allowing Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission chair Matthew C. Masga and commissioner Lydia F. Barcinas to now receive $75,000 in annual salary, up from $60,000 a year.
Commissioners Bernadita C. Palacios and Ike Quichocho, appointees by the previous administration on Tinian, have been receiving $75,000 a year, which is much higher than the salaries of most CNMI government officials.
Tinian Mayor Ramon Dela Cruz, when sought for comment, told Saipan Tribune last night that this decision to increase the salaries of the two commissioners were that of the delegation.
When he came into office, Dela Cruz asked commissioners and others for voluntary cuts in their annual salaries, given Tinian’s tight financial conditions.
Palacios and Quichocho did not agree to salary cuts and continued to receive $75,000 a year, while Dela Cruz’s appointees—Masga and Barcinas—agreed to the cuts, so they were only receiving $60,000 a year.
Tinian delegation chair Sen. Frank Borja (Ind-Tinian) could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Delegation vice chair Sen. Frank Cruz (R-Tinian), however, said the delegation decided to adjust the salaries of the two commissioners, “to be fair to them.”
“It’s not fair that two of them, including the chairman, are getting only $60,000 and the other two are getting $75,000,” Cruz told Saipan Tribune last night.
He said the delegation is also looking at adjusting the salaries of casino inspectors and investigators. Cruz added that the commissioners are tasked to oversee a “gaming industry,” and this is the reason why their salaries are higher than other officials.