All American Rescue Plan Act-funded excepted service contract employees are expected to receive 60-day notices of termination before this Friday.
In a memorandum on Monday addressed to department and activity heads, Gov. Arnold I. Palacios and Lt. Gov. David M. Apatang asked them to review their structures to determine which services are absolutely necessary.
They said all personnel deemed essential must identify alternative funding sources, outside of local resources, for their continued employment, along with justifications as to why their positions should be retained.
Palacios and Apatang did not indicate how many ARPA-funded excepted service contracts employees must get termination notices.
Speaking at a news briefing early this month, transition committee chair Claudio K. Norita disclosed that nearly 500 CNMI government employees who were employed using ARPA funds have been instructed not to return to work following the expiration of their contracts last Dec. 31, 2022.
Norita said the employees whose ARPA-funded contracts expired have received guidance from the Office of Personnel Management that instructed them to not return to work after Dec. 31, 2022.
According to OPM’s Citizen-Centric Report for Fiscal Year 2022, ARPA continued to play a vital role in the CNMI’s workforce, generating well over 500 jobs in the Executive Branch alone.
In their memorandum on Monday, Palacios and Apatang said they are taking all the necessary steps to ensure that available funds are used responsibly and sustainably for the sake of providing essential services to the public, in line with the administration’s dedication to restoring trust, confidence, and efficiency in services.
They said that, upon entering office, it has been learned that the CNMI government’s current financial resources may not be sufficient to support the current size of government operations.
“Thus, a comprehensive assessment of all programs and services is needed to ensure their sustainability due to funding constraints,” Palacios and Apatang said.