09 Feb 2018
- By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
GOVERNOR Ralph D.L.G. Torres has appointed nine individuals to serve as members of the Second Marianas Political Status Commission.
Representing Saipan are former Sen. Pete P. Reyes, Elizabeth D. Rechebei, Rosemond B. Santos, John D.L.R. Gonzales and Commerce Secretary Mark Rabauliman. Fermin M. Atalig and Aubry M. Hocog are Rota’s representatives while Kimberly King-Hinds and Richard Lazaro are Tinian’s.
Their appointments, which were made in December, do not require the advice and consent of the Senate.
Speaker Ralph Demapan, R-Saipan, and Senate President Arnold Palacios, R-Saipan, are ex-officio-non-voting members of the commission which has yet to convene.
According to Public Law 19-63, which created the commission, the term of each member appointed by the governor “shall commence upon his/her appointment and shall serve the commission until the work of the commission is completed.”
The law states that the members “shall be compensated at the rate established in 1 CMC § 8247 (a), as may be amended. All members of the commission shall be entitled to reimbursement for reasonable, necessary and actual expenses incurred by them in the course and scope of their work for the commission, in accordance with the rate then in effect of employees of the executive branch of the commonwealth government. The chairperson of the commission shall certify to the secretary of Finance all claims for payment of such reimbursement.”
1 CMC § 8247 states that the “rate of compensation for meetings attended for members of all government corporations, councils, commissions, agencies, including but not limited to autonomous agencies, boards, and elected municipal councils, subject to the availability of funds and authorization of the Legislature, shall be no more than $60 for a full-day meeting and no more than $30 for a half day or less meeting; provided that the compensation shall not exceed a maximum of $6,000 per year; provided further that compensation for meetings shall be limited to those meetings open and public as required by 1 CMC § 9904 and for which notice has been published in accordance with 1 CMC § 9910. A member who is employed by the commonwealth shall receive his regular salary under administrative-leave status in lieu of compensation for meetings held during working hours.”
The purpose of the political-status commission is to evaluate and re-assess the current relationship between the United States and the NMI and discuss issues affecting the islands’livelihood and culture.
Then-Rep. Felicidad Ogumoro authored House Bill 19-2 which was signed by Governor Torres on Aug. 26 2016 to become Public Law 19-63.
The first Marianas Political Status Commission was formed in Dec. 1972 to negotiate the islands’ political status with the U.S. The negotiations resulted in the 1976 Covenant that established the CNMI in political union with the U.S.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/102140-governor-appoints-9-to-political-status-commission