Salary hike panel starts work


All seven members of the Advisory Commission on the Compensation of Commonwealth Executive, Legislative, and Judicial officers have been named and the panel is set to meet today to start talks on increasing the salaries of certain government officials.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres named Friday former Senate president Pete P. Reyes, special assistant for Management and Budget Virginia C. Villagomez, and Northern Marianas Business Alliance Corp. president Alex Sablan to the commission.

That same day, Senate President Arnold I. Palacios (R-Saipan) appointed Torres’ former chief of staff Matthew Deleon Guerrero and former representative Rosemond B. Santos to the panel.

House Speaker Rafael S. Demapan (R-Saipan) has already named Rep. Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero (R-Saipan) and Legislative Bureau fiscal analyst David Demapan as the representatives of the House of Representatives on the commission.

The appointment of the seven individuals is based on Section 3 of Public Law 20-71 that mandated the creation of the commission within 15 days after Torres signed P.L. 20-71 (Senate Bill 20-11) into law on Oct. 5.

Reyes, Villagomez, and Sablan were the same persons that Torres had appointed to the previous commission that made the recommendation on the compensation that was stated in Public Law 19-83, which the CNMI Supreme Court later deemed unconstitutional, including the previous salary increases enacted under P.L.s 4-32 and 7-31.

The commission, formed based on P.L. 20-71, is set to meet at 10am today to elect a chairman and other officers. The commission’s main objective is to comply with the CNMI Superior Court’s decision that salary increases for members of the three branches of the government must be calculated based off a specific accepted composite price index.

The commission’s main task is to review the compensation of the members of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government based on an existing CPI.

The advisory commission is in accordance with Article II Section X of the CNMI Constitution where it states the salary of members of the Legislature “may be changed no more than once every four years and upon the recommendation of an advisory commission established by law to make recommendations concerning the compensation of Commonwealth executive, legislative, and judicial officers.”

The commission needs to come up with a recommendation before the inauguration of the 21st Legislature in January.
If that doesn’t happen, the annual salary of legislators would go down from the current $39,300 to $8,000.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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