CNMI Senate President: Governor Misunderstood Oversight Bill

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After Inos veto, Hocog to resubmit bill with intent clearly stated

By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 27, 2015) – Senate President Victor B. Hocog believes that Gov. Eloy S. Inos misunderstood the intent of the oversight-process bill which the chief executive vetoed.

In an interview yesterday, Hocog said he will come up with a new version that will specifically state the intent of the Legislature.

"The intent is not to terminate any employee but to recognize and acknowledge complaints from members of the community regarding board/commission members or department secretaries that are not performing well," Hocog said.

In his veto message, the governor said the bill violates the separation of powers doctrines.

According to Hocog, however, "We may make recommendations to the executive branch to take drastic action regarding a particular appointee, but it is still all up to the governor."

He added, "The governor appoints board/commission members and department secretaries, but once we confirm them some neglect the commitments they made. But that’s why they were confirmed — because they made a commitment."

Hocog said the new version of the bill will clearly indicate what the Legislature is trying to accomplish.

"We are not going to absorb an executive function but we want to be able to make recommendations as the confirming body. I still need to sit down with our legal counsel and review the veto message."

The bill, S.B. 18-54, proposes a legislative oversight process for appointed officials.

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