House panel to seek OPA review of PSS execs’ alleged cash out of annual leave

Posted on Dec 06 2011

The House Committee on Education will be seeking the Office of the Public Auditor’s help in ferreting out the truth about some Public School System officials’ alleged cashing of their annual leave.

House Speaker Eli Cabrera (R-Saipan) tasked Committee on Education acting chair George Camacho (Ind-Saipan) to get to the bottom of the issue, which includes asking OPA to look into the allegations raised by some PSS employees and teachers against PSS officials that include Education Commissioner Rita Sablan.

Camacho separately said yesterday he will be writing a request letter to OPA.

Cabrera appointed Camacho as acting chair of the Education Committee, following Rep. Ray Palacios’ (Cov-Saipan) resignation as panel chair because of drug-related charges against him. The speaker has yet to appoint a new committee chair.

Cabrera, in an interview, said he himself started receiving calls from some PSS employees two to three weeks ago, sharing their concerns about PSS officials’ cashing out of annual leave. He said these calls came in long before the same allegations got printed in the Saipan Tribune.

He said the PSS employees he talked to felt that it’s “unfair” that PSS officials go against the system’s own policy of allowing the cashing out of unused annual leaves if they are separated from the system.

But Cabrera pointed out that all these claims about PSS officials’ conduct are still allegations until and unless a formal review has been conducted.

Cabrera said he will also do his own review of the CNMI government budget, to see whether the alleged cashing out of annual leaves is “budgeted” or “appropriate.” He also wants to find out whether the Board of Education approved of such cashing out of annual leave.

He said if the claims made by PSS employees against PSS officials turn out to be true, then there should be accountability and further review of policies.

Former Marianas High School principal Craig Garrison also raised the same issue with the Board of Education, and asked for the board’s investigation on the matter.

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