2 Mar 2004

Newly-appointed Marshall Islands mayor says it will take years to reform local government

2:48 pm on 2 March 2004

The newly-elected mayor of the Marshall Islands capital city, Majuro, says he has no budget, no policies and no systems to work with.

Rele Alberttar, who began his job last week, has cut his own salary and that of his higher-paid staff to try to repay debt, and he says setting a proper budget for this year's operation of the Majuro Atoll Local Government is his first priority.

After that, he says he will start working on a raft of administrative guidelines for employees.

Mr Alberttar, who is a former national government financial official and traditional rights court judge, says one mayoral term of four years may not be enough to achieve everything that is needed.

"I doubt it. I have a lot of things to do you know. The accounts people, you know, we need to settle that right away. I'm trying my best; I just cannot guarantee that I can do that in four years."

The new mayor of the Marshall Island capital, Majuro.