Over 900 owed WGI increases

OPM went through over 1,300 files

The financial austerity measures of the early 2000s affected over 900 active and inactive government employees when their scheduled within grade increase of salary was held during the belt-tightening measures.

The Office of Personnel Management, according to House Ways and Means Committee Chair Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan), noted in the latest of 23 reports submitted to the committee regarding House vice speaker Janet Maratita’s (R-Saipan) House Bill 20-120 that about 907 government employees did not receive their within grade increase in salaries, or WGI, when the government imposed a government-wide financial austerity measure.

Maratita’s H.B. 20-120 seeks to retroactively address the salaries owed to those affected by the withholding of the WGI salary increases.

Demapan said yesterday in the House Ways and Means Committee meeting at the House chamber on Capitol Hill that according to OPM, the amounts owed to the 907 total at about $4.2 million.

“OPM is still working on the figures and as of their 23rd report, it is at $4 million. [This amount] covers for the 907 employees that were deemed eligible [by OPM],” said Demapan in an interview.

He said, citing OPM, that over 200 employees were not deemed eligible to receive payment if the bill is enacted.

“We still expect that number to go up,” continued Demapan, referring to the 907 eligible active or inactive employees. “Honestly, at this point, I do not know what the final figure is.”

Maratita noted during committee discussions on the bill that OPM continues to review several hundreds of files for both active and inactive government employees affected by the financial austerity measures.

The committee adopted H.B. 20-120 unanimously without amendments. The bill now heads to the House floor for review in a future session.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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