The appointment of Cynthia Deleon Guerrero as education commissioner is “legally sound and fully supported by the facts and the law,” according to a report from the Office of the Attorney General addressed to the CNMI Board of Education.
Attorney General Edward Manibusan signed the letter to BOE chair Herman Guerrero, answering questions whether the appointment of Deleon Guerrero as Public School System commissioner amended the job vacancy announcement, also known as JVA; if Deleon Guerrero met eligibility requirements under the JVA; and if Deleon Guerrero recused herself from the hiring process.
In the report, Manibusan stated that Deleon Guerrero met all requirements to become PSS commissioner; she properly recused herself from the hiring process; and that BOE properly amended the JVA.
“Based on the review of the JVA application materials, Human Resources Offices documents, and internal communications, and applying the applicable law,” wrote Manibusan, “it is clear that the [BOE] acted properly in [appointing] Deleon Guerrero as commissioner of Education.”
Manibusan explained in the letter that Deleon Guerrero was qualified.
“Deleon Guerrero meets the statutory requirements because she has over five years experience as an education administrator, when either experience, standing alone, would suffice,” wrote Manibusan.
“Deleon Guerrero also meets the higher requirements in the JVA because of her teaching and administration experience. The only way that Deleon Guerrero could be considered unqualified is if Northern Marianas College is not considered a school,” he added.
Manibusan went on to explain that Deleon Guerrero recused herself from the selection process.
“Deleon Guerrero informed [BOE] of her intention to apply for the commissioner of Education position and recused herself from the hiring process at the [BOE’s] Aug. 25, 2016 meeting,” he wrote.
“When materials were accidentally sent to Deleon Guerrero, she immediately responded, cc’ing the BOE legal counsel and the assistant director of the Human Resources Office to reiterate the fact that she was recused,” he added.
“Her recusal is further demonstrated by the fact that glaring typographical errors were made on the evaluation and assessment form of her application. This strongly suggests that she never even reviewed the files. If she had meddled in the hiring process, it is almost certain that these mistakes would have been corrected.”
The BOE properly amended the JVA, which BOE had the discretion to determine the qualifications for the position as long as it followed the law, wrote Manibusan.
The offer for the position was given to Deleon Guerrero last Nov. 9, and was accepted the following day. Deleon Guerrero has been serving as PSS commissioner since Nov. 21.