A second attempt to allocate funds for retroactive lump-sum payments to government employees stuck at Step 12 finally succeeded in passing the Senate last Tuesday. It now heads to the desk of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres.
The House of Representatives earlier recalled the bill after Torres refused to enact it for failing to identify a funding source.
The Office of Personnel Management had also added more names to the list, bumping up the appropriation to $1.41 million, forcing the House to introduce some changes.
The Senate acted Tuesday on House Bill 20-108 HD1, HS1, a substitute to the former bill, adding people to the list as well as specifically citing the “Saipan casino licensee’s gross revenue tax” as the origin of the funding.
The substitute bill passed the House in a session last week.
Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan), the author of the bill and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, earlier told Saipan Tribune that the original bill addressed 330 employees whose wages were stuck at Step 12 during the financial austerity measures in the early 2000s.
“This communication that came late would be in reference to the additional seven more employees, resulting in an impact of additional $17,545,” Demapan said.
“From the get go, more than 300 were left behind. We are hoping this is the final batch,” said Demapan, adding that every time employees are added to the list it requires the House to identify the funding to address the need.
“If the funding is not available, it puts these employees in a long waiting period, which is not fair,” he said.