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By Gemma Q. Cassas

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Nov. 14) – A Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands administration official says more than 60 personnel in the executive branch, including at least two special assistants of the governor, were served notices that their employment that their employment contracts will not be extended beyond Dec. 22.

Esther Fleming, the governor’s special assistant for administration, said some got their notices on Friday and the others will get theirs this week.

"I issued nonrenewal notices in the governor’s office to everybody concerned," she said.

The contracts that will not be renewed include those of special assistant for disabilities programs Thomas Camacho and special assistant for trade and economic affairs Richard A. Pierce.

Like other department heads, Tony Muna, the governor’s special assistant for budget and management, tendered his courtesy resignation.

Fleming noted that Muna’s salary was not budgeted in the proposed fiscal year 2008 budget.

"Tony Muna submitted his resignation and, funding-wise, his salary is not budgeted for this year," she said.

It wasn’t clear though whether Gov. Benigno R. Fitial would accept Muna’s resignation.

The governor earlier said the names of the department heads he will retain would be announced in January.

"The administration was hit the most because of problems with funding," Fleming said. "We are only keeping those who can multi-task."

She said the cash-strapped government couldn’t pay the salaries of its current workforce given the low tax collections.

Maintenance workers from other government agencies will now be assigned to the administration building.

The Department of Finance said the government, whose current budget is US$163.5 million, could only spend up to US$160.1 million this year.

Marianas Variety

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