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By Agnes Donato

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Feb. 15) – The commissioner and the comptroller of the Marianas Public Lands Authority are earning bigger salaries than that of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands top official, according to a document obtained by the House of Representatives.

Marianas Public Lands Authority Commissioner Edward Deleon Guerrero is earning an annual salary of US$84,000. Marianas Public Lands Authority Comptroller David Demapan, the brother of Marianas Public Lands Authority chair Ana Demapan-Castro, is receiving a salary of US$71,400 yearly.

The governor's annual salary amounts to US$70,000.

Meanwhile, separate documents show that the Marianas Public Lands Authority board members continue to pay themselves huge amounts, despite public outcry over the board's exorbitant compensation rates.

Three of the four Marianas Public Lands Authority board members received a total of US$22,500 for attending official and unannounced meetings in the first four months of fiscal year 2006.

Each of the three board members was paid US$3,000 for participating in 14 regular and special meetings between October 2005 and January 2006.

It is Marianas Public Lands Authority's policy to pay each member US$300 for any meeting that exceeds four hours and US$150 for any meeting that lasts less than four hours.

On top of the meeting compensation, board member Nicolas Nekai received US$7,200 for other meetings held without the public notice required by the Open Government Act.

Marianas Public Lands Authority board chair Ana Demapan-Castro received US$4,200, while board member Felix Sasamoto got US$2,100 for unpublished meetings during the four-month period.

According to Marianas Public Lands Authority's personnel listing as of June 30, 2005, Commissioner Deleon Guerrero is the Land Authority's highest paid employee, followed by in-house attorney Alan L. Lane with an annual salary of US$80,000.

David Demapan comes third with US$71,400, followed by deputy commissioner Vincent T. Castro with US$64,000.

Planning division chief Manuel Chargualaf and Consolacion Togawa each earn US$60,000 a year. Land Claims Division chief Miguel M. Sablan receives US$57,200 a year.

Hired less than a year ago, Marianas Public Lands Authority Real Estate and Development Chief Sharee D. Maratita is now paid US$57,000 a year. Maratita is Demapan-Castro's daughter.

Ramon Salas, special assistant for land exchange and compensation, gets US$55,000 a year. So does Human Resource Division chief Margarita Salas.

Other highly paid employees are capital improvements project coordinator David Atalig, public information officer Edward Arriola Jr., Compliance Division chief John Oliver Gonzales, each of whom is paid US$50,000 a year.

February 15, 2006

Saipan Tribune

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