‘Except for PSS, CHCC, most are current with Fund’

Except for the Public School System and the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., the CNMI government and its autonomous agencies are current with their payments to the Settlement Fund, according to Joyce C. H. Tang.

In her report to the court, Tang, as trustee of the Settlement Fund, said that PSS owes the Fund $212,239 in employer contributions covering the period from fiscal years 2014 through 2016, ending Sept. 2, 2017.

For the same period, CHCC owes $98,938 in employer contributions, she said.

Tang said these outstanding employer contributions arise from a March 10, 2016, order of the U.S. District Court for the NMI, which interpreted a provision of the settlement agreement in Betty Johnson’s class action to require the CNMI government and autonomous agencies to pay contributions at the same rates they were paying as of June 26, 2013.

This was among the issues that Tang discussed in a report she filed in the U.S. District Court for the NMI on the Settlement Fund’s investment accounts for fiscal year 2016 through the third quarter of fiscal year 2017.

Prior to the March 10 order, Tang said, the CNMI government and all autonomous agencies were paying the employer contributions at the rate of 30 percent because it was the rate that applied as of June 26, 2013 (as required under Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo’s Aug. 22, 2011, order).

Tang said the district court, however, disagreed and found that the contributions should be based on the contribution rates the CNMI government and its autonomous agencies were paying as of June 26, 2013.

She said the district court’s March 10 order affected the contribution rates of the government, the Tinian Mayor’s Office, CHCC, and PSS, all of which are now paying employer contributions at the increased rate of 37.39 percent instead of the lower 30 percent rate they were paying as of June 26, 2013.

The Northern Marianas College’s contribution rate remains at 20 percent. All other agencies are required to pay employer contributions at the 30 percent rate set by Govendo’s order.

Tang said the amounts owed by PSS and CHCC represent the difference between the 30 percent rate and the 37.39 rate that they should have been paying from fiscal years 2014 through 2016.

CHCC has entered into a payment plan to pay the outstanding amount in equal payments by June 2018.

Tang said that PSS has stated that it will enter into a payment plan once its confirms the outstanding amount due.

She said the government and the Tinian Mayor’s Office are current with their payment obligations.

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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 ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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