Issues at the utilities company


This brings attention to the article, “CUC Human Resources Office to Help Create Organizational Chart” published on March 8, 2016, and the article, “Ratepayer Questions CUC Reorganization Plan” published on April 18, 2016, on the Marianas Variety. These brought out some intriguing information that trumped my urge to respond on the matters.

I elected to ask for assistance with our news outlets in the hope that this is a more efficient way to involve the media and to excite the principal to respond and also demonstrate to your readers the advantage of taken the discussion of the issues within our government to a public audit forum. It proves worthwhile knowing the swift response time of the principal, otherwise, as it is the frustrating norm within the CNMI government to quash the public on right-to-information request under the Freedom of Information Act. Communication of information after all work well with the media and it serves its purpose in a democracy as check and balance of the public interest.

The principal, Andrew Orsini, responded and noted that Agulto may have misread or misunderstood the proposal. The suggestion “may” have misread or misunderstood is possible, but in this case not so and impossible. What I had in mind was to question about what Orsini said that he himself have misread or misunderstood important principles and concepts in public human resources management that are being displayed in the public domain. By virtue of what he volunteered to say, there that makes clear the false pretenses and “gaming the system” by this learned bureaucrat misleading a role within CUC enterprise for the expected lost of benefit to its rate payers. The rhetoric so obvious, it is a surprise how this principal sleeps and not worry each day at CUC.

The March 8, 2016 article involved Orsini where he revealed matters being processed and taking care by his office. In particular, he noted that the CUC board approved the organizational chart for the Wastewater Division in a previous meeting. He also expressed he ensures that any reorganization is in compliance with human resource standards. Whether or not an apprenticeship program exists, Orsini is collaborating this matter with the Northern Mariana Training Institute and CUC will engage that program this month. He said that the apprenticeship program is available for CUC personnel to upgrade their skills and acquire more training. In order to keep this going, Orsini offered a link that the value of incentives will draw employees’ motivation to seek for their training needs because the incentives dangling serve as lures of CUC’s effort to making training work. A cross point he also highlighted concerning CUC’s expectation to employ the services of such needed skilled workers. Orsini said these points by way of the public domain, not by me or anyone else. Personally and professionally, many if not all learned practitioners in public personnel or human resources management field would actually hesitate and nurse ignorance. In the way Orsini is proudly manifesting his knowledge and capacity that will cause wrong CUC in its going concern path and needs.

My points here takes into account the message rolled out by Mr. Jose S. Dela Cruz in his article a few days ago on the politics of competency or the lack thereof in our government. As a ratepayer and concerned citizen of our government, I have reasons to participate in our deliberative democracy and offer a valuable learning that public audit makes democracy real and real democracy is a value that all of us have an interest. This clarifies and ethically institutes the checks and balances of our struggling democracy.

Public audit is an important element of democracy, but when the elected politician and its appointed lineage fail to recognize the value of a public hearing to address a critical bill being introduced through the Legislature it’s bad and erodes the democracy that we are learning to live with. Such ill-advised ruling when the elected AG purposefully ignored to explain himself in the matter implementing the constitutional mandate of governance of Article III, Section 7 of the CNMI Constitution, was a case in point, a wrong action that will continue to harm the CNMI people.

In this case, a very knowledgeable and expert in law and jurisprudence, a former judge and practicing attorney, elected to engage in “partiality” that caters to a private citizen. The public expectation dictates the elected AG to apply the law without regards to persons or property or circumstances, and it did not turned as the reality of duty.

In the case of Orsini, it is quite the opposite. The manifestation of ignorance about principles and concepts in his rhetoric confirmed to satisfy the curiosity of the ratepayers in that CUC should expect the wrong that is storming their ways. These are bureaucrats in their positions, needless to say that former Judge Jose S. Dela Cruz explained well. Is there corruption made or in the making here? Just think about it, when it does the power of public audit is a revered tool to keeping those in our government on their heels and toes. Speak out and make a difference. Otherwise, our government will be no more than equal to the democracy of the pygmies in South America.

For Orsini, he has started an event at CUC, thanks for his awkward participation and involvement. The public audit process must apply at CUC so that all of us can check and balance the checks and balances of CUC. By its rate payers who actually are the principal owners of this public supplier of potable water, waste water treatment that is returned to the marine environment, and uninterrupted electricity to CUC’s coverage areas, asking question should not be viewed as an intrusion to normalcy at CUC. CUC has reorganized itself when it approved the organizational chart for its Wastewater Division. Sanctioning an action by the board on a piecemeal alignment of its enterprise is something new and perhaps Orsini should give such details and sources that give this strategy and approach its useful order and credible benchmarks. This brings back the scenario of the Article III, Section 7 of the CNMI Constitution that the elected AG instituted a wrong action by keeping the CNMI people at bay. By ignoring to engage in public audit for the situation the elected AG precipitated the wrong.

CUC is regulated by the Commonwealth Public Utilities Commission. It has service coverage of a given square miles to include the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. In these service coverage areas include infrastructure and superstructure invested by CUC in water and sewer lines pipes CUC used to pump potable water and treated sewage, and power generating plants to make electricity. All the capital, manpower, and material resources utilized by CUC comprised what CUC is to water, wastewater, and electricity in the CNMI. The disclosure by Orsini that the board had reorganized the Wastewater Division signaled that CUC is reforming its enterprise. The rule in the Administrative Procedures Act may have been violated before the reorganization took effect is problem and unless Orsini knows that law is fundamental matter to regulated action committed by the CUC Board, there is no more to say about this anomaly. This matter and other in reserve for the next episode in the public audit discourse relating to Orsini’s role as a change agent in CUC will find its way to fruition in the media.

For discussion: How can Orsini make good sense of the information that attempts to communicate with the ratepayers of our CUC? Should he be clarifying what CUC functions are that places all the capital, manpower, and material resources at its disposal and command. In order to explain the ill-conceived organization chart approved by the board a few weeks ago, he turned a blind eye to this situation. The board by no means has the capacity and technical knowledge to engage in human resources management matters. On the other hand, he confidently acknowledged about an apprenticeship program he engaged with the NMTI and ready to go in a few days this month. Does CUC have such a program? Caveat to Orsini, it is best to say that material unimpeachable facts about a program within CUC does not exist, and challenging a board action should come with your job. But, to display that you don’t know that you don’t know is your problem, and frankly yours to keep.

For Orsini, does he think CUC must be organized by its integrative functions inclusive of elements such as its: information technology, employee services (human resources), customer services, finance, treatment, operations and maintenance, engineering, administrative staff, and board of directors? If these functional areas are key premises, then all of the events that causes actions within CUC are sanctioned and structured. And, when you engage a public audit process, you have teeth to bite. Otherwise, you will be the subject of ridicule just the same as the board is being examined by ordinary people. Show your knowledge and apply it well to situations within CUC that commands your well-nourished and purposeful impact. The rhetoric by Orsini does not give credence to an ailing enterprise of our CUC.

Francisco R. Agulto
Kanat Tabla

Contributing Author

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.