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Last updateSun, 20 Oct 2019 8pm







    Sunday, October 20, 2019-3:28:28A.M.






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Sen. Manglona says top officials should be included in austerity pay cuts

SENATOR Paul A. Manglona on Thursday has pre-filed three proposed constitutional amendments that would allow pay cuts on the CNMI’s top officials as part of the government’s austerity measures.

Senate Legislative Initiative 21-3 proposes to amend Section 10, Article 2 of the CNMI Constitution which protects the lawmakers’ salaries; S.L.I. 21-4, to amend Section 5, Article 3 which protects the salaries of the governor and lt. governor; and S.L.I. 21-5, to amend Section 6, Article 4 which protects the salaries of justices, judges and the attorney general.

Paul Atalig Manglona

The legislative initiatives state that the top officials’ constitutional protections from pay cuts “shall not apply when legislation is enacted to reduce government fiscal obligations by way of pay period or work-hour cut reduction, government shutdown, furlough or other similar legislative measure.”

Further, in case of a legislated mandate to reduce government personnel costs, the compensation of these top officials “shall be reduced proportionately to that of government employees and under the same terms and conditions.”

In an interview, Manglona said it is unfair to the government employees to have pay cuts and their leaders don’t.

“Leaders must lead by example. We are not better than our constituents, and should only ask them to sacrifice when we do so in kind. Those constitutionally protected positions are better placed to shoulder the burden of reduced pay than the vast majority of our workforce,” he added.

Manglona said he introduced similar proposals in the past when government austerity measures were also implemented, but the Legislature didn’t pass them.

A legislative initiative is a proposal to amend the CNMI Constitution. It must be passed by an affirmative vote of three-fourths of the members of each house present and voting, and ratified by voters in a special or general election. A legislative initiative passed by the Legislature does not require the governor’s approval.