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    Monday, December 18, 2017-11:12:24P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Former Tinian senator opposes Borja bill

FORMER Tinian Sen. Joseph M. Mendiola is against a measure that will allow the governor to appoint a new mayor with the consent of the Senate in case the position is vacant or vacated.

Senate Bill 20-79 was introduced by Senate Floor Leader Frank Borja.

In his letter to the Legislature’s presiding officers, Mendiola said lawmakers should not pass the bill.

Joseph M. Mendiola

He said the bill gives authority over the selection process to only nine senators, “contrary to what should be an exclusive right of the people.”

He added, “This right... should be held sacred in the democratic form of government…. Tinian appeals that you use your moral responsibility as elected leaders, your ethics, and what is democratically right to vehemently oppose this bill.”

He said “to amend the law now in order to fit into the scheme of maintaining political power by one particular political party, is a demonstration of a leadership that is dangerously edging on corruption and usurping the right of the people in the democratic process….”

Mendiola said amending the law will create a “disturbing image” to foreign investors and demonstrate to the federal government and other governments in the region that the CNMI has yet to learn to govern itself with credibility.

“The casualness of how legislation is amended to fit specific needs of political parties or special groups reflects a government that lacks maturity,” he added.

Mendiola said the people of Tinian is anticipating that Mayor Joey Patrick San Nicolas, who became mayor in Jan. 2015, will resign.

Current law states that in the event the mayor cannot complete his term and there is less than two years remaining to his term, the next highest vote-getter in the previous election will succeed him.

Mendiola said “it doesn’t take too much intelligence to connect the dots: there is a desperate attempt to block former Tinian Mayor Ramon Dela Cruz from assuming the position in the event San Nicolas vacates his post as Dela Cruz is the next highest vote-getter [in the previous election].”

Asked for comment, Mayor San Nicolas said he is not resigning, adding that the primary goal of S.B. 20-79 is to protect the employees of the municipality.

The bill’s author, Senator Borja, said they don’t want another “unfortunate incident,” referring to the experience of the municipal employees hired by Northern Islands Mayor Jerome Aldan. When he passed away, his election opponent, Vicente Santos, became mayor and fired all the employees hired by Aldan.

Borja said the intent of his bill is not politics but to protect the employees’ interest — to make sure that they keep their jobs regardless of who will be the next mayor.