Part-time pay for casino commissioners is pushed
Members of the Commonwealth Casino Commission continue to receive compensation even though the CCC office is closed, no work is being performed, and no revenue is being collected from the casino, according to Sen. Paul A. Manglona (Ind-Rota).
Each fiscal year, the CCC expends $65,000 for each commissioner’s compensation, for a total of $325,000, he added.
The senator introduced during the Senate session on Tuesday a bill that would amend the Commonwealth Code to provide for part-time compensation for the CCC members.
Manglona stated in the legislation that when there is no casino activity on Saipan, the compensation of CCC members becomes an immense financial burden to the commission and the CNMI government.
The CCC office at the Springs Plaza in Gualo Rai has been temporarily closed since Jan. 19 due to the lack of funds.
Five commissioners, however, have not resigned. They held a board meeting last month. A former CCC staff volunteered her time to assist the commissioners in the meeting.
The CCC has been facing a serious budget crisis after Saipan’s lone casino, Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC, was temporarily closed since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CCC’s entire source of revenue for its operations comes from IPI’s annual casino regulatory fee of $3.15 million. IPI, however, has failed to remit the fee since 2020. The government gives CCC only a $1 budget.
Manglona stated in his bill that in order to reduce the CCC’s financial burden when the casino is not active, the annual compensation of CCC members should be replaced with compensation based on meetings. This, he said, is fair and reasonable.
When the casino industry is revitalized, the commissioners’ compensation can be reevaluated once again. (Ferdie de la Torre)