‘DPS spends $2.2M for overtime

Public Safety Commissioner Robert Guerrero shakes Rep. Frank Aguon’s (R-Saipan) hand with Rep. John Paul Sablan (R-Saipan), Gregorio Sablan Jr. (R-Saipan), and Alice Igitol (R-Saipan) in the background during yesterday’s budget hearing. (Erwin Encinares)

Public Safety Commissioner Robert Guerrero shakes Rep. Frank Aguon’s (R-Saipan) hand with Rep. John Paul Sablan (R-Saipan), Gregorio Sablan Jr. (R-Saipan), and Alice Igitol (R-Saipan) in the background during yesterday’s budget hearing. (Erwin Encinares)

The Department of Public Safety has spent $2.2 million just for overtime costs, an amount that House Ways and Means chair Rep. Angel Demapan (R-Saipan) said is way over the allocated budget for overtime.

DPS Commissioner Robert Guerrero said during Monday’s House Ways and Means Committee budget hearing that DPS is spending $2.2 million in overtime—some $2 million more than $200,000 that’s allocated for DPS overtime.

Guerrero said this is largely because DPS is understaffed. Also, investigations into cases cannot be allowed to discontinue, he added.

DPS currently has 131 employees.

Demapan, however, believes that DPS could still trim some hours from their officers’ schedules and bring down the overall cost of overtime.

“That is something of a grave concern for the House of Representatives,” said Demapan, adding that he requested Guerrero to look anew at the department’s staffing patterns. “The staffing pattern has to be built around that—to be able to respond beyond the working hours.”

He pointed out that two fiscal years ago, there was a 45-man increase in officers while the overtime expenditure stayed the same.

“When we appropriate funds to give new positions, it is done on the premise that overtime costs would be reduced because you have more people in the force,” he said.

Demapan hopes that fiscal year 2018 goes differently for DPS because “the moment you go over the $200,000 in overtime budget, the entire government is in deficit.”

DPS received $6 million in fiscal year 2017. This year, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has proposed to allocate $6.6 million to the department.

DPS had proposed a budget of $10.6 million, a proposal that Demapan looks forward to negotiating.

“The commissioner justified that it is only fitting, [due to] the developments and activities going on, as well as the soon-to-open casino hotel,” said Ways and Means vice chair Rep. John Paul Sablan (R-Saipan).

Demapan agreed with Sablan that the $4-million variance is too much.

“If we were to give [$4 million], it would require a massive reduction across the board in all departments and agencies. That is something we cannot do,” Sablan said. “We are going to strike a balance on how we distribute the funds for the budget.”

Included in the $4 million difference was DPS’ request to expand their vehicle lineup and their plans to recruit more officers.

“Majority of the $4 million [difference] is DPS asking for 45 more full-time employees [FTE’s],” said Sablan.

Demapan recognized DPS’ need for additional vehicles, something he said the committee considers a “critical component to any police force.”

“That is something that we would definitely consider, should supplemental funding become available,” he said, adding that DPS has proposed $500,000 to purchase vehicles—an amount that is included in the $4 million difference.

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Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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  • jun

    Really? Had seen DPS vehicle park behind a building for a period of time and someone was getting paid overtime while taking a long nap during working hours.

  • Ioanes

    Overtime has been a perennial problem in some government agencies. It remains a problem to date. Solutions? Anybody?

  • deoppressolibres

    Instead of MORE cops, money should be allocated to “rotate” the present bunch off island for “real” training starting from the basics. starting from the TOP cop down.
    ALL should get training from off Island such as from the Hawaii Police Academy going in small groups such as maybe 10 ea. THEN go on to advanced specialist courses. This should more so apply to the so called Detectives. ALL should be required to PASS this “boot Camp” or be looking for another kob. This includes the Physical regimentation.

    ALSO upon return these cops should be required to take a course from NMC related to law enforcement, on their own time, and this would be basis for promotions etc.
    AFTER what’s left, then new cops should be hired and sent off island for training, NOT as is the case has been hired, trained and passed locally due to family name and connections.

    BTW how many presently in upper echelon possess ANY of the basic requirement to hold their positions. What is the background on this present “top cop” Does this present Commissioner have any college along with other basic leadership skills and experience related to law enforcement?

    http://work.chron.com/minim

  • pafao

    131 warm bodies at DPS and still requesting for more personnel and on top of what is considered excessive staffing , an over expenditure of over $2 miilion in overtime pay. Clearly, DPS is a mismanaged dept. not only as viewed by chairman A. Demapan, but even by a 5th grader student. How could Robert spent $2 million on a budget of $200k for overtime pay? Can you people see that by bending the law to install a person NOT CUT for DPS Commissioner is a recipe for disaster? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure such thing out. A 5th grader can probably do a better job of selecting a person’s qualification by honestly reading and following what the law says. Just too bad nobody dares to use their thalamus on a very simple guideline instruction.

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