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By Gemma Q. Cassas

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Dec. 7) – A measure that allows persons with a postsecondary education to be hired as civil service employees or be promoted ahead of their counterparts without a degree is now law.

Like the House of Representatives, the Senate also overrode Gov. Benigno R. Fitial’s veto of Senate Bill 15-14 offered by Senate Vice President Pete P. Reyes, Ind.-Saipan, during their session on Wednesday.

S.B. 15-14 amends the Commonwealth Civil Service Act to give special privileges to government workers who have earned a bachelor’s, masters or doctoral degree to encourage them to join the public workforce.

According to the new law, returning citizens with postsecondary degree who are qualified to work in the government are restricted by the requirement to have experience in the field that they are applying for.

The new law removes the experience requirement if the candidate has a bachelor’s, masters or doctoral degree.

Fitial vetoed the bill because he believes that it will undermine the promotional system, which is based on merit and experience.

He said the current civil service system structure is designed to promote competitiveness among employees so that they strive for excellence and gain experience that should merit their promotions.

"The fallacy of this measure is that education by itself qualifies a person to perform a job at the level required for the position that the person is applying for. That notion is incorrect," said the governor in his veto message to the Legislature.

He said education may be essential but it’s not the only thing that should be considered in gaining advancement in the government sector.

"Education may provide a person with knowledge and a foundation, but it does not provide a person with the expertise and skills that come with experience. While I understand and share the Legislature’s desire to provide employment for all returning Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands residents, the approach taken in this bill is neither practical nor fair," he said.

The Senate also overrode the governor’s veto of House Bill 15-39, which regulates the disconnection, and reconnection of utility services.

The bill will become law if the House also votes for an override.

Marianas Variety

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