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OFFICE OF INSULAR AFFAIRS U.S. Department of the Interior

Washington, D.C.

NEWS RELEASE March 17, 1999


Pamela Brown, who has practiced law in Saipan for the last ten years, has been selected as the first Labor Ombudsman by the Office of Insular Affairs.

Ms. Brown is expected to take up her new duties later this month, and to work out of the Horiguchi Building, where other federal offices are located.

"Numerous talented people were interested in this position, so the decision-making process was difficult," OIA Director Allen Stayman declared. "We were gratified by the interest of the candidates in helping solve the CNMI’s many labor and immigration problems. We know we have found, in Pam Brown, a first-rate, dedicated public servant who comes to the job after extensive experience in the Marianas. In addition to her private practice, she has worked for both the CNMI Attorney General’s Office, and for the Commonwealth Senate."

The Ombudsman’s position is not a political one, and was filled after the completion of an open, competitive civil service process, monitored by the Office of Personnel Management, an independent arm of the U.S. Government. The Ombudsman and her supporting staff will be employees of the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Ombudsman will report to OIA’s Deputy Director, Danny Aranza.

"The position will fill two needs," Stayman explained.

"First, it will be designed to steer workers with problems to the appropriate government agency, either Commonwealth or Federal, that can help with those problems; in some cases the Ombudsman will assist U.S. attorneys to prepare cases, but this will be the exception, not the rule.

"The second function of the office will be to gather information from the flow of workers with problems; what were the nature of their complaints, and what were the results when those complaints were taken to the appropriate agencies? Gathering this information," Stayman stressed, "will be useful to decision-makers in both the Commonwealth and in the Federal governments. Better data will lead to better decisions."

Ms. Brown attended high school and college in the State of Washington, receiving, in 1982, a dual bachelor’s degree in anthropology and in broadcast journalism. She subsequently secured a JD degree from the University of Washington’s School of Law in Seattle, graduating in the top third of her class.

After working in television news for several years, she practiced law in Kent, Washington, working primarily as a defense lawyer in criminal matters. In 1989 she moved to the Marianas to work for the Criminal Division of the CNMI attorney-General’s Office, and then, between 1990 and 1994, she served as the Chief Senate Legal Counsel. Since 1994 she has been in the private practice of law, handling civil rights, labor and immigration law, as well as family and corporate law. She has been admitted to the bar in the CNMI, in the State of Washington, and may practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit.

Ms. Brown is wrapping up her private law practice, and will work full time as Ombudsman.

For additional information: David North TEL: (202) 208-3003

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