Rep. Tony Sablan (Ind-Saipan) has introduced a bill that would require termination of government employees convicted of a felony, as well as termination or suspension without pay for government employees charged with a felony.
Sablan, a former CNMI immigration director, said it is “disturbing” that individuals are allowed to occupy elected positions or remain on duty “and continue to make key decisions, receive salaries and other employment benefits” after they are found to have committed crimes.
In his House Bill 18-139, Sablan didn’t name specific former or sitting government officials that were convicted or charged with felony but the CNMI has a number of elected officials—including former lawmakers, former governor, former attorney general, former and current law enforcement officers—that were either convicted or charged with a felony.
Sablan said his bill intends to implement a guideline for the termination and suspension of government employees charged with a felony.
Speaker Joseph Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan) referred the bill to the Committee on Judiciary and Government Operations.
Under the bill, “any government employee conviction of a felony shall be subject to termination of employment.”
Any government employee charged with a felony, meanwhile, is subject to termination of employment or suspension without pay at the discretion of the appointing authority.
In the event that felony charges are dismissed or the government employee is found not guilty of a felony, the government employee that was suspended without pay shall be reinstated with benefits and pay retroactive to the date of suspension.
Felony, as defined in HB 18-139, is any offense or conduct proscribed by Commonwealth law or the law of any other jurisdiction, which is punishable by more than one year imprisonment.