Ex-PSS chief insists she’s entitled to a hearing


Ex-Public School System commissioner Cynthia I. Deleon Guerrero insists that she is more than entitled to a hearing—as a matter of law—to defend herself against the stigma of having been fired by the Board of Education.

Deleon Guerrero, though counsel Brien Sers Nicholas, said the position of PSS commissioner is prestigious and “not just anyone can occupy the same, to say the least.”

“So for anyone to occupy such a position, only to be accused as being a person not able to work with others, is a stigma that denies that person the honor and respect that got her the commissioner’s position in the first place,” Nicholas said.

Nicholas made the argument in Deleon Guerrero’s reply to BOE members’ opposition to her motion for reconsideration of the district court’s dismissal of her lawsuit.

Deleon Guerrero is suing the BOE and its members for terminating her as PSS commissioner last October. She is demanding $350,000 in damages.

Last May 30, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona dismissed with prejudice Deleon Guerrero’s two claims: violation of her due process rights and conspiracy to violate her due process rights.

Dismissal with prejudice means Deleon Guerrero can no longer re-file the claims.

Deleon Guerrero asked the court to reconsider, asserting that the manifest errors of law in her case will make her suffer injustice.

In the BOE members’ opposition to the motion for reconsideration, they asserted that they are puzzled with the argument raised by Deleon Guerrero.

BOE and its members, through special assistant attorney general Tiberius D. Mocanu, said Deleon Guerrero argues that she should be entitled to a pre-termination hearing because BOE chairwoman MaryLou S. Ada had stated that she did not get along with her.

Mocanu said Deleon Guerrero contests the accuracy of that statement, yet how is that even possible.

In Deleon Guerrero’s reply to the opposition, Nicholas said the BOE members’ response wherein they continue to make arguments that, at best, mixes “apples and oranges” and without so much as making any attempt to address the controlling legal authorities based on CNMI and federal laws which Deleon Guerrero argues are very much applicable in this case.

Nicholas said the defendants continue to make arguments that mix Deleon Guerrero’s property interest with that of her liberty interest.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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