Department of Commerce Secretary Mark Rabauliman is optimistic all vacant positions under his agency would be filled by the end of the fiscal year with some individuals on Saipan qualified to be hired.
Banking administrator, small business unit director, insurance administrator, economic director, central statistics director, and economic development officer II are some of the positions that need to be filled.
Sen. Sixto K. Igistomar (R-Saipan), in yesterday’s budget hearing by the Senate Committee on Fiscal Affairs, likened the department to a football team where a quarterback needs to have good running back so the team may score points.
“If you have these people on board, like a quarterback in a football team, you have all these prime runners that could make you score. You need them on board and you don’t have them, I hope that you complete your team,” said Igisomar, who is a former Commerce secretary.
Rabauliman told Saipan Tribune that his department needs the help from all the professional people so they could achieve their goals for the CNMI. They have already been reassessing all the positions that need to be filled.
“A lot of those positions have been forwarded to the [Office of Personnel Management] and it was circulated and announced. Some of them have been filled but there are still positions that are still on the list of vacancies,” added Rabauliman.
He said that they are in the process of finalizing the questions that they would ask once they interview applicants for the Central Statistics director.
They are also working with the Office of Management and Budget regarding the annual salary they would offer to candidates for the economic development officer II post.
Rabauliman said he knows a number of people in the CNMI who are qualified to fill the vacancies. “But some of them believe that their skills don’t match and it is just a matter of convincing them. Salary is another thing since it is not that competitive.”
He added they are currently in negotiations with prospective candidates for the position and the OMB regarding salaries. He believes a final announcement will be completed this week and all positions to be filled before the fiscal year ends in October.
Still, Rabauliman said that a lot of it would depend who will apply for the positions mentioned. “OPM will do the rating system on the names and their qualifications that we’re going to submit. There are also a number of qualified persons for the central statistics director.”
“The economic development officer post kind of also encompasses the analyst portion of it. What we’re trying to do is to see what we can get and then work within our means. As we currently do at the department right now, some of our directors wear multiple hats.”
Rabauliman said they always find creative ways in working within the resources that they currently have. “We will always come and ask for additional funding for here and there but after all is said and done we’re going to work on what we’re given.”
Commerce submitted a budget request of $2 million with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres cutting it to $1.5 million with another $300,000, which is a separate request, for the Workers Compensation Commission’s disability fund.