27 Sep 2017
- By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
WITH five board members left, the Commonwealth Election Commission on Tuesday elected Jesus Sablan of Saipan as acting chair and Donald Hofschneider as vice chair pro tem.
The terms of former chair Frances Sablan and Trinidad Rabauliman of Saipan expired in August. There are two other vacant seats for appointees from Saipan.
The three other current members are Joseph Santos of Tinian and Esther Yatar and Lelanie Manglona who are both representing Rota.
Jesus Sablan said deciding on important matters would be hard for the commission without a leader, hence the need to elect a temporary chairman.
He said as soon as the four vacancies are filled by the governor, they will elect a new chairman and vice chair.
Jesus Sablan, whose term will expire in 2018, is on his third term, serving for a total of 12 years. He said he is willing to stay on for more years if his health permits.
Gov. Ralph Torres, in a separate interview, said he will fill the vacant seats and re-appoint Frances Sablan.
At Tuesday’s board meeting, commission executive director Julita Villagomez said their request to purchase two more vehicles and implement a 5 percent salary increase for six personnel was turned down.
The commission has asked for $730,000 but gets an appropriation of only $396,515 under the newly signed 2018 budget law.
The election commission currently has one vehicle, an old station wagon donated by the Department of Corrections, Villagomez said, adding that they have to “upgrade” the vehicle so they can use it. They just replaced its battery, she said.
The election commission also discussed plans to visit the Northern Islands in October to register the voters there.
Villagomez said there are 166 registered voters for the Northern Islands, 13 of whom are on the volcanic island of Pagan. The rest are believed to be residing on Saipan.
She said they are tentatively scheduled to visit Northern Islands on Oct. 2 and will be ferried by a boat to be provided by the mayor of the Northern Islands free of charge.
For the Nov. 2018 elections, she said they will return to the Northern Islands to facilitate the voting process. Villagomez said they will charter a boat that will cost them $8,000.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/98860-jesus-sablan-is-acting-election-commission-chair