$39K endorsed for lawmakers


Incoming lawmakers in the 21st CNMI Legislature will be receiving the same annual salary of $39,300 that was enacted more than 20 years ago as recommended by a recently constituted advisory commission.

However, a salary based on an existing composite price index must be in place before the start of the 21st Legislature or the annual salaries of legislators would go down to $8,000, as provided to members of the inaugural Legislature.

This was the gist of the report that the Advisory Commission on the Compensation of Commonwealth Executive, Legislative and Judicial Officers recently submitted to the House of Representatives.

The seven-member commission pointed out that the CNMI Supreme Court had ruled that any salary increase for the Legislature must be calculated based on an accepted CPI.

“Further, the language of the Supreme Court’s joint stipulated order indicates that the starting baseline for any recommendations of the advisory commission is $8,000 and that the advisory commission must base any adjustment of legislative salary on the rate of an ‘accepted CPI’ for the period from January 1978 to the present,” said in the commission’s report.

The commission agreed $39,300 is a reasonable annual salary for legislators since it is within the law and would maintain their standard of living without “implementing an extravagant or needlessly excessive increase.”

Their local CPI report pegged the salary at $47,555.47 per annum but reached a consensus of $39,300 after reviewing a wide range of other salaries.

The commission, however, retained the salary increase for the governor, lieutenant governor, mayors, justices, and judges that was originally recommended by the previous advisory commission that proposed the controversial $70,000 pay hike for legislators.

The commission said the $120,000 (governor), $100,000 (lieutenant governor), $75,000 (mayors), $130,000 (chief justice), $126,000 (associate justice), $123,000 (presiding judge), and $120,000 (associate judge) remains a commensurate wage.

“The advisory commission found the compensation provided to justices and judges to be comparable to the regional and national averages and commensurate with the responsibilities and obligations of their respective positions,” added the commission in their report.

Northern Marianas Business Alliance Corp. president Alex Sablan is the commission’s chair. Its members are David Demapan, Rep. Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero (R-Saipan), Matthew Deleon Guerrero, former Senate president Pete P. Reyes, ex-lawmaker Rosemond B. Santos, and Special Assistant for Management and Budget Virginia C. Villagomez.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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