CNMI GOVERNOR OKS HIGHER SALARIES FOR SURGEONS

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Pay for medical specialists exempted from $50,000 ceiling

By Agnes E. Donato

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Dec. 11, 2008) - Governor Benigno R. Fitial has approved over-the-cap salaries for three physicians at the Commonwealth Health Center and authorized the hiring of three new government employees.

In separate letters to the Legislature, the governor stated that he had allowed the Department of Public Health to pay emergency medicine physician Debesh Basu and surgeon Kenneth Taguchi more than the US$50,000 salary ceiling that is in effect across the CNMI government.

Basu will be receiving US$80 an hour, and Taguchi will get US$122,500 a year.

Physicians, among other professionals, are exempted from salary caps set by the government compensation law. However, the governor’s certification of the cap waiver is required.

In related news, Fitial has allowed the hiring for three positions in Rota, Tinian, and the central government. The positions are for a new accountant for the Department of Finance, a custodial worker at the Tinian Health Center, and another custodial worker at the Office of the Governor’s Special Assistant for Administration.

According to the governor, the filling of these positions are "of vital importance for the efficient delivery of public services." He added that there is money available for the full cost for the new employees.

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