2 Oct 2010

Out of pocket CNMI government employees to protest public service shutdown

9:32 am on 2 October 2010

CNMI public servants without pay because of a partial government shutdown that's the result of the Legislature's failure to pass a balanced budget are planning a protest against the measure.

The House and the Senate continue to disagree on a number of issues on their versions of a 132 million US dollar appropriations bill, the most contentious of which is the number of work hour cuts for public servants.

On Thursday, the Governor Benigno Fitial signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency, giving him the power to determine and operate the government's essential services.

Our correspondent in Sapian, Mark Rabago, says some of the 14-hundred government employees now without salaries plan to march on Capitol Hill.

"Everybody's up in arms. Everybody's blaming the Legislature that one of their first duties as lawmakers is to pass a balanced budget and obviously they've failed. One critic of the government said that even his eight grade students can pass a balanced budget - why can't duly elected members of the Legislature do it. So there's an uproar. There's an uproar."

Our correspondent in Sapian, Mark Rabago.