‘Irrelevant’ ARPA-funded jobs to be axed


Once they take office in January, the incoming Palacios-Apatang administration does not plan to renew ARPA-funded jobs that are not “meaningful” or “impactful” to the community, according to governor-elect Arnold Palacios.

In a press briefing last Monday, Palacios said that “irrelevant” jobs created under the American Rescue Plan Act—which poured millions of dollars into the CNMI—will soon cease to exist once he takes office in accordance with their campaign pledge “to make a difference.” However, jobs and positions that have or will make a difference for the CNMI in the future may be extended past the Dec. 30 expiration date.

“So I’m going to be very honest to the public, I cannot promise that your job, which was supposed to expire on Dec. 30, is going to be extended. We’re going to take a look at all these jobs and look at the relevance of these positions. For me, a lot of these position are temporary in nature. People should know that and the functionality of what they were hired to do is going to be critical because we need to put together our priorities. We know that ARPA funds are going to disappear soon. Because of that, we need to make sure that the programs that are being funded or ran are impactful and meaningful to the CNMI and aren’t just employment opportunities,” Palacios said.

“I’m not going to renew a position just because there are still ARPA funds left, even though I believe [they] are wasteful. I wouldn’t be making the difference that I promised,” he added.

Fortunately, Palacios said, he has reviewed a number of the employment positions created under ARPA, and a lot of them could make a difference in the CNMI, especially in its journey to recovery.

“I’ve looked at some of the programs and some of the projects that were initiated under ARPA. Some of them I question the relevance, but some of them are well put together and meaningful and impactful to the community,” he said.

Overall, Palacios said he wants to give the community a heads up that if their position was created under ARPA, the position or program will be looked into and if it does not prove beneficial to the community, it will not be extended past the Dec. 30 expiration date.

“If the initial employment contracts they have is only up to Dec. 30, then that’s it. I’m not going to terminate people and disrupt their life. But I just want to give everyone the time to potentially look for other employment. However, if your program is being funded under ARPA, and it is meaningful, impactful, and should continue, we will continue,” he said.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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