- Published on Monday, August 06, 2012 00:00
- Written by By Emmanuel T. Erediano - Reporter
- Hits: 725
The Senate passed the measure unanimously on June 30 last year.
Vice Speaker Felicidad T. Ogumoro, Covenant-Saipan; Reps. Ramon S. Basa, Covenant-Saipan and Froilan C. Tenorio, Covenant-Saipan, were absent during Friday’s session while Rep. Raymond D. Palacios, Covenant-Saipan was not in the chamber during the roll-call vote.
Introduced by Senate Vice President Jude U. Hofschneider, R-Tinian, returns the Office of Personnel Management to Civil Service Commission by repealing Public Law 13-1 which was enacted during the administration of Gov. Juan N. Babauta.
S.B. 17-62 aims to establish a personnel administration system “based on merit principles and generally accepted methods governing the classification of positions and employment, conduct, movement, and separation of public officials and employees.”
The bill stated that placing OPM within the Civil Service Commission would reestablish a non-partisan and independent civil service system as required by Article 20 of the CNMI Constitution.
It added that “exemptions from the Civil Service system are being abused and civil service employees are being hired as excepted service employees, circumventing position requirements and salary limits.”
The goal of S.B. 17-62 is to select and retain the best qualified civil servants on merit, free from coercion, discrimination, reprisal or political influence.
In an interview after the session, Speaker Eli D. Cabrera, R-Saipan, said: “Let’s remove politics from the hiring process. Hire people based on merits. And in case of removal, the civil service that has to deal with it.”
Rep. Ray N. Yumul, R-Saipan, said OPM needs to be under Civil Service Commission. He said the commission was created to ensure that civil servants are “immune” to political interference or coercion.
Employees are the backbone of the government, and their hiring process should not be political, he added.
He noted that OPM is heavily under the influence of the governor.
Although civil service commissioners are appointed by the governor, Yumul said the Senate has to confirm their nominations. Moreover, the commission has to follow rules and standards, he added.
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