Increase in COVID cases, other OPM jobs hampered DPS, DOC desk audit


The Office of Personnel Management could not complete as scheduled its desk audit of the departments of Public Safety and Corrections due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the CNMI, as well as the demands of other projects.

With these setbacks, Personnel director Frances Torres-Salas asked the Legislature last week for 90 more days to finish the desk audit.

Among other goals, the audit seeks to find out if DPS and DOC employees are actually performing their work and whether the departments are adequately or excessively staffed, as well as to assess overtime requests.

Torres-Salas informed Senate President Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian) and House Speaker Edmund S. Villagomez (Ind-Saipan) that they began their fieldwork phase of the desk audit in late November 2021 but could not complete it as scheduled due to the unforeseen rise in COVID-19 cases. She said the spike caused absences and the eventual temporary government shutdown of some offices.

Torres-Salas said she recognizes that the law mandates OPM to complete the task with audit findings within 180 days from when it was awarded to the contractor.

“We are faced with several challenges, to include the ongoing Tyler-Munis transition and reinstatement of the public service recognition event, in addition to other ongoing day-to-day work,” she said.

The director said Public Law 22-08 mandates their office to conduct the desk audit on DPS and DOC and that in their meeting with the House Ways and Means Committee last Oct. 18, they discussed and identified the three audit objectives their office will perform.

Torres-Salas said in planning and performing the audit in the initial phase, they did not realize the magnitude of work that is involved.
There are a total of 425 DPS and DOC personnel for Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.

The director said the audit involves the review and analyses of assessment results of each individual personnel file to include the need to travel to Rota and Tinian to conduct face-to-face interviews with each personnel.

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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