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Last updateWed, 18 Oct 2017 12am

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    Tuesday, October 17, 2017-1:31:10A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

Senate conducts hearing on Tinian for CUC board nominee

TINIAN — The Senate on Wednesday conducted a public hearing on the nomination of Jovita San Nicolas Paulino as a Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board member representing the island.

An appointee of Gov. Ralph Torres, Paulino was also recommended by Tinian Mayor JP San Nicolas.

All six members of the Senate Committee on Executive Appointments and Government Investigation headed by Sen. Frank Cruz did not ask Paulino questions. Instead they requested her to look into their concerns.

Jovita San Nicolas Paulino

About 30 people testified in support of Paulino and they urged the Senate to confirm her nomination expeditiously.

Paulino is a former teacher at Tinian Elementary School who currently works for the mayor’s office.

Sen. Jude Hofschneider asked her to look into the $1.3 million that the Tinian municipality recently paid the Marianas Public Land Trust, and see if the municipality can be reimbursed. The municipality had to borrow money from MPLT to pay for a U.S. Geological Services study on the island’s water resources in the 1990s.

Sen. Sixto Igisomar asked Paulino to work in collaboration with the CUC executive director but not to try to interfere with his duties and functions.

“Help the executive director if you can and work closely with him. If he doesn’t do his job well then fire him, but just let him do his job especially if it’s for the benefit of the community,” Quitugua said.

Sen. Teresita Santos asked Paulino to ensure transparency and accountability and to be mindful of what is the best interest of the people and their government.

Sen. Justo Quitugua urged Paulino to work with the executive director and the CUC legal counsel and try to put together an orientation briefing for all board members regarding the laws that apply to CUC.

He said Paulino should always do what is right and fair for the people of the CNMI.

Sen. Frank Cruz, the chairman of the appointments committee, said he can see the determination and the willingness in Paulino’s eyes to serve the public, and he is looking forward to seeing her do what is expected of her.

Cruz said if she detects any irregularities, Paulino should come out in the open and prevent them from happening.

Paulino, in an interview, said there were a lot of concerns raised during the public hearing but she vows to try her very best to serve the community.

“I have to read the applicable statutes. I will be out of my comfort zone and I will be doing something that does not involve my profession, but I will try my very best, and the only way to do that is to familiarize myself with the laws and the utility system,” the 52-year-old former teacher said.

According to Daisy Demapan, the governor’s public information specialist, Paulino’s background is founded on education, leadership, policy development and enforcement.

“She understands the responsibility of mitigating risks, embracing and managing innovative changes and forward thinking,” Demapan said as she introduced Paulino during the public hearing.

Paulino has served as member of the Tinian Municipal Scholarship board and director for the Tinian Youth Center, and is currently the chief of administration for the Tinian mayor’s office.

Among those who expressed support for her confirmation were Tinian Mayor JP San Nicolas, CUC resident general manager Evelyn Manglona, Tinian Municipal Council Chairman Antonio Borja, former council chairman Ray Cing, scholarship board chairman Antonio Borja Jr., municipal council executive director Melissa Sanchez and Guillermo Borja.