Tinian Mayor’s Employees Excluded From CNMI Work Hour Boost

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Tinian Mayor’s Employees Excluded From CNMI Work Hour Boost 72-hour schedule reportedly only for departments that can afford it

By Haidee V. Eugenio

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Aug. 1, 2012) – Tinian Mayor Ramon Dela Cruz announced yesterday that Mayor's Office employees won't go back to 72 work hours biweekly from the current 64 hours because there are no funds available to cover the additional eight hours beginning July 29 up to Sept. 30.

Then-acting governor Eloy S. Inos, in a July 26 memo, said no department or agency may increase work hours if fund balances are insufficient to cover the additional eight working hours for the remainder of the fiscal year.

This Friday is supposed to be a working day for government employees if agencies have sufficient lapsed funds to cover the eight hours.

Dela Cruz said there are no lapsed funds for the mayor's office.

"I am sorry to bear this bad news, but there will be no work this coming Friday. No appropriation has been made to implement the 72-hour work (biweekly) announced by the central administration. Therefore, there are no funds to pay you. Only those agencies with sufficient lapsed funds can pay their employees for 72 hours. We have none," Dela Cruz said in a memo to mayor's office employees.

Sen. Frank Dela Cruz (R-Tinian) said if the administration's position is to give some government employees 72 hours, then he recommends that "everyone should be given their fair share. It is not right to exclude other employees especially with the high cost of living on Tinian and Rota."

But Inos' memo made it clear that only those with sufficient fund balances to cover the lifting of the eight-hour austerity for the rest of fiscal year 2012 should increase the work hours.

Rep. Trenton Conner (R-Tinian) said it makes no sense to announce a 72-hour work biweekly if it depends on the availability of lapsed funds at each agency.

"If there's additional funds provided by the administration, then that could have been the appropriate way to go back to 72 hours," he said.

Dela Cruz assured mayor's office employees that he's working closely with the Tinian Legislative Delegation "to ensure that all our employees will have an 80-hour work week as soon as the new [fiscal year] 2013 budget is passed."

The Fitial administration, as well as the House and Senate, is poised to restore full 80 hours biweekly starting Oct. 1.

Under a 64-hour work biweekly, many government employees do not report for work every Friday.

But because it's going to be 72 hours biweekly for agencies with sufficient lapsed funds, employees will now be also working every other Friday.

This Friday, Aug. 3, will be a work day. Every "payday Friday" will be the only "austerity Friday" until Sept. 30.

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