The Torres administration clarified yesterday that the contract of Claudio Norita as office manager of the 2020 CNMI Census is a standard employment contract, contrary to rumors that it was a sole-source contract.
Torres administration representatives spoke about Norita’s contract on the side of a news briefing yesterday at the Office of the Governor about the decennial 2020 Census.
Citing U.S. Census Bureau regulations and mandates, the administration pointed out that each of the five island territories (the CNMI, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico) have professional contracts with the Census Bureau. Through these contracts, each territorial governor is mandated to appoint a Census office manager. According to the administration, the same procedure has been done back in the 2000 and the 2010 Census, with the Census office manager being a gubernatorial appointee.
Rumors that circulated in social media outlets questioned Norita’s appointment, claiming that it was a sole-source contract.
The news briefing itself at the Office of the Governor’s conference room on Capital Hill focused on the the upcoming 2020 Census, as well as regulations and mandates governing it.
The contract between the U.S. Census Bureau and the CNMI government is about $10.74 million, with the census to be conducted up to Jan. 31, 2021.
A previous social media post by Democrat Party officer Nola Hix described the Norita contract as “potentially illegal.” When asked via email for comments about the administration’s statement, Hix said that Patricia Guerrero sent Commerce Secretary Mark Rabauliman an Open Government Act request to inspect the contract. Guerrero confirmed that she sent such an email to request to Rabauliman and acting Procurement and Supply director Francisco Aguon.
MD: Torres administration provides clarification on Census contract
KW: Clyde Norita, Census, Torres administration.