HEW resumes NMC oversight Feb. 17

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Posted on Feb 15 1999

The House committee on Health, Education and Welfare will resume on Wednesday its oversight on the Northern Marianas College and the government scholarship program, marking the third hearing in a series of investigation planned by the legislative panel.

The hearing this week is expected to get into details on policies and operations of NMC which has come under attack in recent years due to allegations of mismanagement of funds.

In its inquiry held last February 3, the panel chaired by Rep. Heinz Hofschneider noted inconsistencies in the college policies as it asked NMC officials to produce several documents, including salary structure of employees and an previous opinion from its former legal counsel clarifying its status as autonomous government agency.

But the committee has yet to pin down what maybe the reasons for the fragile financial shape of CNMI’s lone higher learning institution that has dogged by cash flow problems in the past few years.

A source, however, said the forthcoming hearing will yield evidence to back up allegations of fund mismanagement. NMC officials have repeatedly denied the accusations.

The oversight, the first ever conducted on the state college since its inception in 1981, was prompted by the recent protest of NMC students against failure of the government to allot funding for their scholarship grants this spring semester.

In a news release, the HEW chair is asking the public to submit their written testimony or make oral statement when the hearing starts at 9:30 a.m. at the House chamber on Wednesday.

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