In their first board meeting since March, the Marianas Visitors Authority board approved yesterday to extend Priscilla Maratita Iakopo’s contract as MVA managing director for another year.
Iakopo will also be getting a salary increase. The amount of how much her salary will be increased was not stated at the meeting.
In her remarks at the meeting, Iakopo said, “I want [to take this] opportunity to thank you all for trusting me,” and acknowledged that her staff are the backbone of MVA and that she would not be able to carry out her duties without them. Iakopo acknowledged that tourism is the “No. 1 economic driver” of the CNMI and that she will continue to do the best that she can and to grow and strengthen the CNMI’s tourism industry.
“I [will continue] to seek your guidance and your continued advice as we continue on this journey,” said Iakopo. “We want to also ensure that we come back with a lot of strength and unity through these steps.”
Iakopo was appointed MVA managing director in May 13, 2019. Iakopo also served as interim chief financial officer at the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. Before going to MVA, she served as director of CHCC’s procurement and supply division. Her lack of experience in the tourism sector at that time raised some concerns but, according to Saipan Tribune archives, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres pointed out that he had previously appointed people who did not have experience in specific fields.
“As a governor I have done that in the past. And that’s me, giving opportunities for those who have not been given and for all whether they are young, new to the government or private sector,” he said.
Torres said he is a strong believer that “if you give an individual the opportunity, it’s up to them if they excel or not.”