CUC’s legal counsel says board members not required to submit courtesy resignations

GOVERNOR Ralph DLG Torres has asked department heads, including government board members, to submit their courtesy resignations by Dec. 22, Friday.

But Commonwealth Utilities Corp. legal counsel James Sirok on Wednesday said the law does not require CUC board members to submit their courtesy resignations.

James Sirok

“You are a board member until you do something improperly,” he said, citing the CNMI Constitution and applicable local law.

“If you want to pay courtesy to the governor as a sign of respect then so be it. I’m not advising one way or the other, but it’s not a requirement,” Sirok added. “If you submit your resignation and it’s not conditional then that’s automatically a resignation and you’re no longer a board member.”

Board member Matthew Holley, a lawyer, said they should submit a “conditional resignation.”

CUC Executive Director Gary Camacho said he was also asked by the governor’s office to submit a resignation letter to the board.

He said in the past, the board, whose members are gubernatorial appointees, usually complied with the governor’s memorandum.

Kodep Ogumoro-Uludong, the Commonwealth Development Authority board chairman and CDA’s representative to the CUC board, said he will submit his resignation as CDA’s appointee to the CUC board.

CUC board chair Miranda Manglona said when she served on the election commission, they were also asked to submit courtesy resignations.

“I have served three governors,” she added, “and we were asked during my term to submit courtesy resignations, but we never did and we just continued moving forward.”

Board vice chair Weston Thomas Deleon Guerrero said “the board is a little bit different compared from department secretaries.”

He asked their legal counsel to draft a uniform resignation letter for each board member, but it will still be up to each of them whether to sign it or not.