CNMI Bill To Raise Salaries Of Elected Officials Becomes Law Without Governor's Signature

All civil service employees starting salary will go up

By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 24, 2017) – The controversial measure that increases the annual salaries of elected officials by up to 80 percent became law without the governor’s signature.

Authored by Speaker Ralph Demapan, House Bill 19-3 is now Public Law 19-83.

According to the CNMI Constitution, “The governor shall have 20 days in which to consider appropriation bills and 40 days in which to consider other bills. If the governor fails either to sign or veto a bill within the applicable period, it shall become law.”

H.B. 19-3 was transmitted to the governor on Dec. 12, 2016.

The new law will also increase the salary ceiling for all civil service government employees.

Under P.L. 19-83, the governor’s annual pay will be increased from $70,000 to $120,000; the lt. governor, from $60,000 to $100,000; mayors, $43,000 to $75,000; and legislators, $39,000 to $70,000.

One of the five House members who voted against the bill, Rep. Ed Propst earlier said: “We’re giving a 5 percent increase to all civil service and government employees, but we are giving ourselves an 80 percent increase. How is that? It doesn’t seem fair, especially to those critical employees like police officers who only got $8 per hour and do not receive night differentials. We still have a lot of debts and our focus should be on paying our obligations rather than giving huge increases. There are still families whose claims have not been settled, and there are agencies that are unfunded and here we are getting an 80 percent increase. Let’s take care first of our moral obligations.”

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