House Ways and Means questions ABTC’s request for 14 new FTEs


The House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee asked yesterday the Department of Commerce’s Alcohol Beverage and Tobacco Control Division for an explanation about its request for 30 full-time employees, including 14 additional FTEs.

At a budget hearing, Ways and Means Committee chair Rep. Donald Manglona (Ind-Rota) said that ABTC requested for 30 FTEs, but it looks like that wasn’t granted.

Manglona requested an explanation what the additional 14 new FTEs would be used and how that would assist the division.


ABTC director David Maratita said they have requested for 14 new FTEs for their plan to transition into a 24-hour operation.

Maratita said they had that plan prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and when the pandemic kicked in they had to hold it back because it wasn’t just possible to transition to 24 hours of operation.

He said there were cuts in hours and layoffs of personnel that they have to deal with during the pandemic.

The director said they are basing themselves on the business demands.

“We have additional classified licenses that were passed into law,” said Maratita, adding that before they had seven license classes and there are additional two more licenses.

He said the additional licenses refer to businesses that operate up to 4am.

He said nine are operating 24 hours so they need to have additional personnel there for 24 hours.

Maratita said these 14 additional FTEs would have been just for enforcement officers.

In response to Rep. Celina Babauta’s (D-Saipan) question if ABTC has communicated with the Department of Public Safety about aligning and working in tandem to be efficient, Maratita said they have been doing that, but their responsibilities and duties are different from DPS “because we deal directly with businesses, whereas DPS deals with the public.”


Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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