Former lieutenant governor Diego Benavente has joined the Public School System as the agency’s legislative consultant.
State Board of Education chair Herman T. Guerrero confirmed Benavente’s appointment yesterday during a board meeting.
Benavente, who is also a former lawmaker, was hired through a special contract, the amount of which was not disclosed.
“He is a retired individual and therefore cannot be hired as an employee so it has to be through an independent or special contract,” Guerrero told Saipan Tribune, adding that he is not privy to all the contract’s details.
Guerrero earlier said the legislative consultant—a newly created position—is directly under the office of Education Commissioner Dr. Rita A. Sablan.
Saipan Tribune tried to interview Sablan yesterday but she was in a hurry for another meeting after emerging from the whole-day board meeting that ended past 5pm yesterday.
As legislative consultant for PSS, Benavente’s primary responsibility is to assist the system and the board in working with the Legislature on matters that affect public schools.
Guerrero earlier told Saipan Tribune that the decision to tap the services of legislative consultant for public schools is to ensure that PSS’ concerns on specific legislation and other related matters are properly conveyed to lawmakers.
“We need to figure out how we can talk more on one-to-one basis with our lawmakers to get something moved and accomplished within the Legislature. And that’s basically the task we’re expecting from the consultant,” Guerrero had said.
The board has a separate committee on legislative matters, chaired by board vice chair Lucy Blanco-Maratita. According to Guerrero, the hiring of a legislative consultant will not conflict with the work of this panel.
He reiterated this yesterday, saying there are so many things to do both at the board level and PSS and both need help.
PSS has also filled another position. Guerrero said that Tiberius Mocanu was hired as legal counsel for both PSS and the board and will assist current counsel, Adam Hardwicke. The new lawyer worked in government prior to joining PSS in January.