Finance Secretary Larrisa Larson assured yesterday that the money of all government employees remained in their respective accounts as Typhoon Mangkhut caused banks to shut down their operations, even their ATMs.
The government released employees’ payroll early in preparation for Mangkhut, with Department of Finance personnel working double time over the weekend. The government’s original payday was supposed to be today.
However, all banks in the CNMI—particularly Bank of Guam, which is used by the government for the employees’ payroll—closed their operations and secured their ATMs even before Mangkhut barreled through the islands. Employees who are non-BoG account holders received checks.
“The banks did not zero anyone’s bank deposits out. Their (employees) money was there. The payroll that ran before the storm was done on the weekend but please remember BoG shut down [operations] on Guam,” said Larson.
“We ran payroll when the bank was already closed for the typhoon. Also, [it’s the] weekend so everything done was specifically because BoG wanted to do its part to get our people paid. So the main server of the bank was down due to the typhoon.”
She said what BoG did was issue a memo post of the deposits for the employees’ payroll with the amount showing when the servers went back online. “It’s my understanding the [servers] were shut down for the storm. Just like everyone else in the CNMI, the bank was impacted.”
The same process was followed for all employees who received paper checks, Larson said, where the amount showed once the servers were operational. Her payroll staff at Finance was also trying to meet the deadline as Mangkhut loomed over the Marianas.
She thanked the banks for helping them in getting the government employees paid. “If people only knew the effort that we went to into this payroll by completing the payroll itself and having to reformat it plus sending it out…if we didn’t run it that day, people would be waiting until [Wednesday]. I’m truly grateful that our bank partners moved mountains to get payroll through even if it is not exactly how everyone was anticipating it.”