The administration of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres is confident that David DLG Atalig has the experience and skills to help manage and budget the finances of the CNMI government, despite the extreme challenge the Commonwealth faces in recovering from the destruction of Super Typhoon Yutu.
In a joint statement attributed to Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, it said that even though Atalig is a new appointee to the Cabinet, he is no stranger to the CNMI government, having held various government posts in the past.
The expression of support came as the Senate Executive Appointments and Government Investigation Committee, chaired by Sen. Francisco Q. Cruz (R-Tinian), ratcheted up its public hearings for the confirmation of Atalig as Finance secretary.
The committee started the hearing last week on Rota. Another public hearing was held yesterday on Tinian. The one on Saipan will be held at the Senate chamber tomorrow, April 25.
Atalig finished college with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration degree with emphasis in Finance and Management at the University of San Diego. He also earned certificates and had trainings in accounting, business management, and institutional planning and budget.
“After returning to the CNMI from college in San Diego, he served as a budget officer for the Northern Marianas College, and eventually became the director of Finance and Administrative Services in 2002,” said the administration statement. “He then served as the director of Finance for the Department of Public Lands in 2006, before moving back to the [U.S. mainland] where he served Portland State University and the University of California-San Diego as a fiscal officer and a financial analyst.”
The administration said that government finances and budget management are among Atalig’s strongest skills—skills that will stand him in good stead as he drives the Finance Department’s strategic direction in the next four years.
“He intends to reform one of the government’s most important departments. He understands that not just the Commonwealth, but the whole world is growing and rapidly changing to keep up with the demands of increased globalization,” the administration said.
“He sees this as an opportunity for finance and our other government agencies to adapt to the new fiscal conditions facing the CNMI and to ensure cost-effective outcomes across government.”