The House of Representatives Special Committee on Federal Assistance and Disaster Related Funding received last Friday documents related to overtime requests and payments received by Cabinet members, incurred under the CNMI government’s COVID-19 emergency and response.
Committee chair Rep. Ralph Yumul (R-Saipan) showed Saipan Tribune some of the documents, which will be discussed more thoroughly during the committee’s meeting on Capital Hill this afternoon.
Pressed for information whether the documents show that members of the Cabinet have gotten overtime payments, Yumul said that he cannot comment on the details yet, but that he went over the documents with House lawyers and Rep. Tina Sablan (D-Saipan) yesterday morning.
“Apparently, what was mentioned in the media is not what it says, like saying no Cabinet members were paid,” Yumul hinted. “Apparently, the Cabinet members are being paid. They have not filed for reimbursement yet. I don’t know if FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] will approve it but it’s local funding for now.”
The documents received showed files from Pay Period 8 to Pay Period 12.
Earlier this month, the House Special Committee asked Patrick Guerrero, the Governor’s Authorized Representative, to furnish them with documents and a complete list of all government employees receiving overtime payment related to the COVID-19 operations.
In an earlier interview, Yumul said his committee’s first step is to gather information. Now that they have the overtime documents, the lawmakers will go over the files, and if discrepancies are found, involved agencies will be called in, on record, to explain.