The Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation last Friday confirmed Mariano Taitano as a member of the Commonwealth Zoning Board at the House chamber on Capitol Hill.
The SNILD confirmed Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ appointment of Taitano to the Zoning Board for the second time, however a vote was not held during the delegation session last week.
According to the CNMI Constitution, gubernatorial appointments require confirmation within 30 days of the appointment. Taitano was appointed in Feb. 12, 2018, however the delegation was unable to meet within the 30-day period to confirm Taitano’s appointment.
“[The delegation was] in the legal opinion that the [30-day period starts] upon the submission of the required documents by our rules,” said delegation chair Rep. John Paul Sablan (R-Saipan). According to Sablan, the delegation received Taitano’s required documents, such as his resume, financial statements, drug testing results, etc., two weeks ago.
“Later on, our legal counsel had concluded that the law on the 30-day grace period starts upon the receipt of the governors communication on the reappointment… Therefore, the appointment had lapsed,“ Sablan continued.
Despite the 30-day grace period lapsing, Sablan said the session last Friday was held to reflect on the record that the delegation would have confirmed Taitano either way.
In an interview, Taitano, though appreciative to the governor on his reappointment to the Zoning Board, said this could be his last term for the board. Taitano is currently serving his second term at the Zoning Board.
When asked on what his plans are for the board, he said securing requirements remained a priority for him.
“We need to address the issues of [securing] all the requirements according to the Saipan Zoning Law, especially in terms of what [could and could not be] built in a specific zoning area,’ he said.
Taitano, a former lawmaker, also said that he is in discussion with Sablan regarding the Zoning Board terms. He emphasized that it was not that he had an issue with the length of the term, but rather the required documents were starting to bare a financial burden, especially with the lower term length.
“As appointees for the Zoning Board, we are spending twice as much more than other boards,” he said.
The Commonwealth Zoning Board term is two years, compared to other boards of four years. Some boards even have more.
Taitano said regardless the delegation changing the term length of the Zoning Board, this term would “probably be my last.”
“I am looking forward to serving in the Marianas Public Land Trust Fund, where my expertise in investments could come in handy,” he said. “That has yet to be determined.”