SAIPAN MAYOR PROTESTS FITIAL LAYOFFS

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12 workers removed from mayor’s office

By Gemma Q. Casas SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, April 23, 2010) - Saipan Mayor Donald G. Flores said the Fitial administration removed 12 full-time employees (FTE) of his office arbitrarily and illegally which jeopardized their operations.

Flores brought the issue to Senate President Paul A. Manglona, Ind.-Rota.

According to Flores, the administration removed the 12 who were with the mechanic shop of the mayor’s office and recommended that they be transferred to the Department of Public Works.

The transfer didn’t take place and the 12 remain jobless.

"These 12 FTEs have been removed by the administration in a manner that I believe is inconsistent with the law. I have attempted to raise these issues in person, to no avail," Flores told the Senate president. "I trust that these issues can be worked out so that our respective constituents are better served by their elected leaders without regard to differences of politics or opinion on extraneous matters."

According to the mayor, he turned in the Request for Personnel Action (RFPA) on the employment of the 12 to the Office of the Personnel Management based on information that their salaries were budgeted.

He said a budget analyst from the Office of Management and Budget certified the positions. However, the administration later told him the RFPAs could not be signed.

"The RFPAs were then altered by the Office of the Governor to reflect reductions in the salaries submitted. My chief of administration, Mr. Jeffrey Tomokane, then returned to my office with the RFPAs," he said.

Thereafter, a meeting was scheduled between Flores, the governor and other administration staffers.

The governor agreed to keep the 12 but annotated their contracts to reflect that they were hired only through March 13, 2010 instead of up to Sept. 30, 2010.

"Prior to Governor Fitial’s actions on the removal of the 12 FTEs, the Office of the Mayor of Saipan had a staff of 46, including myself. The administration’s removal of the 12 FTEs brought this number, as of March 13, 2010, down to 34," Flores said.

"Due to my limited manpower, on March 23, 2010, I submitted a reinstatement for personnel action of the 12 FTEs that were terminated by Governor Fitial without the approval nor the concurrence of the expenditure authority, which is the office of the mayor of Saipan," he added.

Flores is a Republican while the governor is with the Covenant Party.

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