CUC fails to fill some vacant posts

The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. has failed to fill certain vacant upper management positions as required by the federal court’s stipulated order No. 1.

In CUC’s status report filed before the U.S. District Court for the NMI last Friday, CUC legal counsel James S. Sirok said CUC is looking to fill the positions of chief engineer, chief financial officer, and water and wastewater manager.

Sirok expects Stipulated Order 1 coordinator William Gilmore and CUC executive director Gary Camacho to advise and inform the court, the U.S. Department of Justice, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of the status of these vacancies during a forthcoming status conference.

CUC submitted its status report in court prior to the status conference.

U.S. District Court for the NMI designated Judge David O. Carter will hold a weeklong status conference that will begin on Jan. 29, 2019, about various CUC projects.

Sirok said Carter informed the parties that he would like to learn of the status of the various activities and requirements relevant to SO1 and Stipulated Order 2.

SO 1 focuses on drinking water and wastewater and the restructuring of CUC’s organization. SO 2 focuses on oil issues and also applies to oil spills and the remediation of the contaminated power plants.

Sirok said because of the dynamic nature of CUC’s post-Super Typhoon Yutu recovery effort, the status of SO1 facilities and water well operations continues to evolve on a daily and weekly basis.

Sirok said water wells are back in operation as part of CUC’s post-typhoon effort to provide 24-hour drinking water service to the residents of Saipan.

CUC is expected to provide an updated report on the status of those water wells during the status conference.

Sirok said CUC has also been working to discover instances of water theft and referring these cases to the Office of the Attorney General for action.

“However, to date CUC is not aware of any prosecutions of water theft cases,” said Sirok as he requested that this issue of water theft continue to be placed on the court’s agenda for discussion during the status conference.

On SO2 projects, Sirok said he was informed that projects under the outstanding task orders are moving along on a timely basis without any major problems.

Sirok said the parties agree that the remaining and expected Engineering and Environmental Management Company account funds are being used efficiently.

“CUC also believes that the parties are progressing toward completion of these priority projects in a positive manner without conflict or dispute between EEMC and CUC.

Gilbane Federal is the court-appointed EEMC, that is tasked to oversee some of the SO2 projects.

Sirok said CUC feels that its work and coordination with the EEMC and with the DOJ and EPA, related to specific work being performed, or to be performed, under the various uncompleted task orders, has developed into a very good, strong and cordial team working environment.

“There are no critical issues concerning the EEMC and its role related to SO2 projects which CUC feels a need to be address at this time,” he said.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at

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