OAG: Camacho didn’t incur damage because of his promotion, salary hike

Lawrence M. Camacho did not incur any damage since he was promoted to a police major shortly after the Department of Public Safety denied him the director of police position, according to DPS.

In DPS’ response to Camacho’s lawsuit, DPS, though assistant attorney general Tom Schweiger, said that Camacho failed to allege any damage caused by DPS’ actions.

Schweiger pointed out that Camacho, shortly after being denied the director’s position, was promoted to the next highest position (major) at DPS, with the same salary increase he would have gotten had he become the police director.

In July 2015, then-DPS commissioner James Deleon Guerrero informed Camacho that Pete Leon Guerrero was selected police director. Leon Guerrero also currently serves as acting special assistant for the CNMI Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Schweiger said that even if the announcement for the director’s position was published thrice, this is allowed pursuant to the NMI Administrative Code.

In his lawsuit, Camacho, through Robert T. Torres, said he was the only one who applied for the position when the Civil Service Commission announced it open between Dec. 10 and 24, 2014.

Torres said the examination for the position was announced a second time and a third time by CSC after Camacho and no one else had applied during its first and second announcement.

Torres said one other applicant, Leon Guerrero, applied for the position during the third announcement for the post.

In Camacho’s suit, Torres alleges that Camacho was interviewed for the position by a panel consisting of two non-DPS officers and the Customs director.

In Camacho’s lawsuit, Torres alleges that a member of the interview panel assisted Leon Guerrero with his application for the position.

Schweiger said if one of the members of the interview panel assisted the other applicant, Leon Guerrero, it was done without DPS’ knowledge and outside the scope of that employee’s job.

“Thus, the individual would be personally liable for that act, not DPS,” Schweiger said.

Schweiger also asserted that Camacho’s grievance was not timely.

He said DPS was not the one that certified the applicants for the director position as eligible.

Schweiger said DPS followed all the rules and regulations of the CSC as their Office of Personnel Management directed them to.

DPS asked the Superior Court to deny Camacho’s petition.

On Friday, Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho set a status conference for July 18, 2017.

Last May, Judge Camacho denied DPS’ motion to dismiss Major Camacho’s discrimination lawsuit against DPS.

Major Camacho, a 25-year veteran of the CNMI’s police force, filed a petition for judicial review of agency action and injunction against DPS and CSC for allegedly not selecting him to the position police despite being the only one qualified for the post.

DPS, through the Office of the Attorney General, moved to dismiss the lawsuit.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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