Marianas Variety

Last updateTue, 30 May 2017 12am

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    Monday, May 29, 2017-8:32:05P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

Gil San Nicolas named acting DOL chief

GOVERNOR Ralph D.L.G. Torres on Friday accepted the courtesy resignation of Department of Labor Secretary Edith Deleon Guerrero and named Enforcement Director Gil San Nicolas as acting chief of DOL.

San Nicolas served as Labor secretary in the Fitial administration.

The governor’s office said it has communicated with U.S. DOL to assure them that in the period before the official appointment of a new CNMI DOL secretary, the commonwealth remains committed to working collaboratively to address ongoing problems related to illegal immigration practices and the pursuit of payment for wages owed to foreign workers.

The governor also expressed his appreciation to the staff of CNMI DOL, adding that he looks forward to continuing the important work of the department under San Nicolas as the process to appoint a new secretary progresses.

In a statement on Friday, the governor said:

“I thank Edith [Deleon Guerrero] for her many years of service with the CNMI Department of Labor. Edith has worked very hard and has been closely involved with the complex events following federal control over immigration in the CNMI. I wish her the best in her future endeavors and commend her for the work she has accomplished.”

According to the administration, this acceptance follows the governor’s Feb. 2017 request to cabinet members to submit courtesy resignations as a part of the mid-term review proposed by then-Governor Inos at the start of the administration in 2015.

Deleon Guerrero did not comment on the governor’s acceptance of her courtesy resignation, but she shared with Variety her parting message to her staff. “Thank you for working with me these past few years,” she told them on Friday during a brief ceremony prepared by DOL staff to bid their chief farewell and to wish her luck in her future endeavors. “Take care of yourselves and we shall cross paths again,” Deleon Guerrero said. “For Rota and Tinian, forgive me for not being able to physically see you to say Adios. Do your best to uphold the law and the interests of those we serve.”

Deleon Guerrero advised her staff not to be afraid of anyone, including officials, and to fight for what is right. “Let these forever guide you in always doing the right thing for the CNMI DOL. Fear no one, elected or not, even the next secretary of Labor if she or he is trying to engage you in corrupt practices.” She cited Section 10.20.2-436 (a) (9) which states: “Expose corruption wherever discovered”; and Section 10.20.2-436 (10) (d) which states “Acts that have the appearance of wrongdoing are prohibited equally with actual acts of wrongdoing.”

“Protect those that qualify for jobs,” Deleon Guerrero added. “I applaud you for not engaging in such practice and for not disregarding the very laws that we at the Department of Labor are entrusted to uphold. It is the right thing to do and we shall not be silenced by corrupt practices.” She said “It’s been my pleasure working with you these past four years. I hope that what I have taught you continues on with the work that you do for CNMI DOL. There is still much to be done and more initiatives to implement to better CNMI DOL, but despite no longer having the opportunity to continue making positive changes for CNMI DOL and for those that we serve, the CNMI community, I leave with you with a deep thank you for working with me during my tenure as your secretary of Labor.”

The staff thanked Deleon Guerrero “for her guidance and for being a true leader to them — someone who is passionate and has the work ethic and integrity to improve the department and the community.”

Deleon Guerrero also thanked the media for covering the department during her tenure as DOL chief.

Harry Blanco of the Office of Insular Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Interior wished Deleon Guerrero good luck and thanked her for her dedication and leadership. Blanco said it was a privilege on his part to work with Deleon Guerrero to address some of the most important labor issues in the CNMI.

Some officials of the U.S. DOL said the CNMI government has just lost a great leader in Deleon Guerrero.

They commended Deleon Guerrero for her strong stance on labor issues and for working hard for the safety and well-being of the workers.

Among those who wished her well were Kimberly Woodard, Grants management and program analyst from the Office of Foreign Labor Certification Employment & Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor, Dean Tenorio of the Work and Hour Division and Kevin Deel of the Mine Safety and Health Administration.