The Public School System administration will be exempted from the furlough that PSS is planning to impose on all its locally funded personnel.
During a Board of Education meeting last Saturday, Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada stated that PSS central office staff, who are also locally funded, will not be included in the personnel furlough that they will soon announced.
Ada said that if PSS gets no money by Wednesday this week, he will have no choice but to furlough over 800 PSS staff.
When asked why central office staff are being spared, Ada said the key management staff are essential in running the different arms of PSS.
“The key management are also the people who have the capability to run their departments like, for example, the Student Support Services, the commissioner of that department, we need her for the ongoing learning at home packet. That is the reason why I need the key management. They’re also stepping in to help out and they have been,” he said.
Ada said these locally funded staff work hard, but many do not realize how much work they do and continue to criticize why they won’t be experiencing a furlough like many other.
“A lot of people don’t see the work that they do but, to tell you the truth, these guys work hard. It’s easy to make that claim that key management makes too much. However, many do not realize that these key management people, they put in their time over 20 years-plus to become leaders. They are consistent and they are loyal to the system; that’s why they’re still there for over 20 years,” he said.
According to Saipan Tribune archives, Ada said that furloughing staff is their best option and they are just waiting on assurance from the federal government that there will be assistance for those who will lose their jobs as a result of COVID-19 under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
PSS needs to furlough its staff because, Ada said, allocations to PSS are close to nothing and they are struggling to pay locally funded personnel.
Currently, PSS still owes locally funded personnel 30% of their last payroll because they were only given 70% due to lack of funding.
PSS is looking forward to getting some relief from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provided under the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which would provide emergency unemployment assistance to workers who do not have unemployment insurance, which is not available in the U.S. territories.
The program will provide eligible workers weekly unemployment checks and jobless benefits for up to nine months.