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Govt continues review of employee contracts—Torres

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The government is continuing its review of the contracts of Executive Branch employees and determining which agencies would need more personnel.

Lt. Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres said a meeting has been set this week with Cabinet members to discuss the contracts.

Currently, the government has anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 employees, Torres said.

Not all contracts will be reviewed, though, Torres said, as other agencies have their own review and requirement process.

There will also be no timeframe as to when the new contracts will be signed, because some contracts are ending this month, while others might end later.

Torres said government is looking at the enforcement agencies, such as the police and tax collection personnel, for the additional manpower.

He said, however, that the current number of employees in government may or may not increase, as some personnel might be transferred to other departments via “lateral” movement.

As of the moment, some 80 employees on Rota and around 90 employees on Tinian have their contracts already signed, Torres said.

On Saipan, employees have already turned in their papers, but it was not yet determined how many contracts will be signed.

Torres emphasized that the contract reviews have been conducted even before Capital Hill lifted a hiring freeze in government.

The government’s 2015 budget currently has allocations for 50 additional positions. Torres said these positions will be allocated to priority agencies such as the police and tax collection agency.

The government needs to beef up its manpower, according to a recent transition report.

The report said the entry of investors in the gaming and tourism industries would necessitate the administration of Gov. Eloy S. Inos to look into increasing the government’s bureaucracy, especially staffing at the Division of Customs and other revenue collections-related agencies.

This was one of the recommendations cited by the Committee on Transition when it recently made public the summary of its findings and recommendations.

“With the future growth brought upon by the casino industry, customs enforcement and revenue collections-related positions need [to] be increased to assure that compliance is met and revenues are collected,” it reads.

The transition committee also recommended that the Department of Public Safety recruit more policemen and certain government agencies to hire their own attorneys.

“In addition, more police officers will need to be hired as well as other governmental services that are expected to serve this new industry. Several government departments and agencies including the Division of Revenue and Taxation, Division of Customs Service, Procurement & Supply, and others have expressed the need for access to legal counsels on legal issues affecting their job responsibilities,” the report said.

It also found out that in general, the government, which has been criticized for being bloated, is now actually understaffed.

In addition, the transition committee report also proposed that government seriously look into increasing the salaries of civil servants.

Joel D. Pinaroc

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