CNMI Attorney General Edward Manibusan has filed a lawsuit in Superior Court against Department of Public Safety Commissioner Robert Guerrero for the allegedly excessive overtime compensation he received from Super Typhoon Yutu recovery.
According to Manibusan in court papers, Guerrero was not entitled to overtime and so should be directed to return all the money he was paid in overtime.
“Guerrero, a Commonwealth government employee, was not entitled to typhoon emergency premium compensation, overtime, or extra pay for work performed during the declared major disaster and state of significant emergency relating to Super Typhoon Yutu, or for work directly involved with typhoon recovery and repair work and providing assistance to those members of the Commonwealth adversely affected by Super Typhoon Yutu,” Manibusan said. “Defendant should be ordered to return the unlawful compensation to the Commonwealth treasury.”
In his lawsuit, as relief, Manibusan is asking the court to issue a judgment of $46,982.96 for recovery of unlawful typhoon premium payments, overtime payments, or extra payments not authorized by law, without valid appropriation, and in excess of the salary ceiling.
Aside from returning the money, the AG also asks the court to issue a declaratory judgment declaring that the personnel regulations authorizing payment of typhoon emergency premium pay, overtime, and extra pay do not apply to gubernatorial appointees; that the director of Personnel and governor lack the authority to authorize additional compensation except as provided by law; and that compensation in excess of the salary ceiling cannot be authorized except as provided by law.
The AG also wants the court to order Guerrero to pay prejudgment and post-judgment interest; costs of suit; and all other relief the court deems appropriate
According to the lawsuit, Guerrero’s total compensation in fiscal years 2019 and 2020 exceeded his statutory salary of $54,000 which is against the law.
“[The] $46,892.96 received by defendant in addition to his annual salary was not lawfully paid as typhoon emergency premium pay, overtime, or extra payment. Defendant received $29,388.08 in fiscal year 2019 and $17,504.88 in fiscal year 2020 for work that occurred in fiscal year 2019 between Oct. 23, 2018, and Jan. 23, 2019,” Manibusan said.
Guerrero received typhoon emergency premium pay on multiple occasions and his typhoon emergency premium pay was paid at a rate of 2.5 times his base salary.
On Nov. 26, 2018, the police chief received gross wages in the amount of $10,306.91 as typhoon emergency premium pay.
On Dec. 21, 2018, he received gross wages in the amount of $9,917.49 as typhoon emergency premium pay.
Later, on Dec. 31, 2018, he received gross wages in the amount of $9,164.59 as typhoon emergency premium pay.
On Nov. 11, 2019, Guerrero received gross wages in the amount of $17,504.88 as typhoon emergency premium pay.
In total, Guerrero received typhoon premium pay in the total gross amount of $46,892.96 with $29,388.08 paid in fiscal year 2019 and $17,504.88 paid in fiscal year 2020. However, all pay was for work performed during fiscal year 2019 from Oct. 23, 2018, through Jan. 23, 2019.