Sunday, September 02, 2007

PSS payless payroll -- attention bureaucrats -- expect me to be on your ass relentlessly

Here we go again with the latest round of government by crisis. Here I am caught in the middle. The latest is PSS hasn't gotten the money it was promised from the central government, it's always last minute with them, so PSS is saying they don't know if they can make payroll this month. I've seen this type of thing government wide a couple times before, but I think this is a first for PSS in particular.

I know a couple things. The minute my check is late, I will be be on speed dial, around the clock, to Rep. George Miller's office and the Department of Education encouraging a federal takeover of PSS, and a lot of people will be getting a lot of scrutiny they don't want if that happens. I'm pretty sure No Child Left Behind doesn't allow school to be closed because you spent all your money fighting federalization. A state takeover of a school system is what happens in a failing system. It has happened a lot in the most troubled districts. I'm not sure how common federal takeovers are, but in this case "local government" can't handle local government, a stick in the eye for all the people ready to secede to defend their right to a local government that may not be able to make teacher payroll and will have to close the schools, unless slavery is now legal. Basic service one, power, is already a fiasco. Ambrose has been saying for months a federal takeover is needed-- I don't think years in this case. The next thing will be to consult with a lawyer, as sending people to work when you know you can't pay them is the definition of fraud. Maybe I can own land here after all. Note to all parties involved here. I am not a contract worker you can abuse so easily. I speak English very well, I have a blue passport, I'm not option less and I may have a lot of time on my hands to make a lot of peoples' lives more difficult, and that will be my singular focus 24/7 if that happens. I suspect the prospect of no paycheck and fraud will even get the comatose lumps that make up 80 percent of my teacher peers to chip in and help.

PSS needs to close all the schools if this is the case -- now. I don't want to hear nonsense like, "it's for the children, work for free." When my rent is free, and the Nuggets at Java Joes are free, and Shell gasoline is free, I'll consider working for free. Until then, forget it. Don't I have enough of a stressful job without worrying about being cheated? I already have basically the job of two teachers. Do you think teachers who don't know if they will be getting paid are going the extra mile? It will be hilarious, and slightly sad really, to see the looks on the faces of the new recruits unaccustomed to the fly by night nature of how the CNMI government operates when they read this news. There simply is no excuse for even reading this in the paper -- none -- especially when the government is cutting absurd checks to lobbyists, public relations firms and Jesus Camacho.
EMPLOYEES of Public School System may get no paychecks until the end of the
fiscal year on Sept. 30 following the administration’s failure to return the
amount it cut from the previous budget of PSS and to release federal
Compact-Impact money that was to cover the PSS payroll until Oct. 15.PSS acting
finance director Lori A. Grizzard, acting Education Commissioner Charlie Kenty
and PSS federal programs officer Tim Thornburgh said the school system is
running out of money to cover the three remaining pay periods for its 797
locally funded employees, who include teachers and support staff.The
administration cut the PSS FY 2006 budget by $2 million but promised to return
it in the FY 2007 fourth quarter allocation. “PSS is still waiting for that $2
million that was borrowed in FY 2006 which was to cover expenditures for the
prior year,” Grizzard said. “The promised restoration will cover our
shortfall.”

31 comments:

Marianas Eye said...

Ewww. Did you really say "stick in the eye"?

Boni said...

This has happened before, PSS worried about not making payroll.

Jeff said...

I remember a few government payroll questionability, but not focused on PSS. Under any circumstance, it's not acceptable.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

What the hell is wrong with Seattle? They've lost 9 in a row!

Jeff said...

They were playing over their heads before. It's catching up to them. The yankees are taking the wild card that's the good side. The bad side is they will play the angels first round, and the angels own them.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

This is a commom ploy. Stop the presses, we are out of money. The children will suffer. The sky is falling. Sure enough the check that was in the mail gets delivered by hand.

Don't worry, Jeff. Calm down.

BTW The 90k paid to the lobbyist you so detest would only provide a paycheck for 3.2 of you HPTs per month so don't have a cow.

Saipan Writer said...

I want to know more about federal takeovers of school systems. Interesting.

BTW, I disagree with Bruce's advice. I think we get so inured to stuff like this that we do tend to think it's okay, when it's not.

Jeff said...

It's the principle of the thing. You don't pay for a lobbyist and a PR firm and Jesus Camcho, and about five pointless agencies for nonsense while headlines scream that teachers will be working for free. Why do I have to wake up to that? Why shouldn't I have a cow, Bruce. A front page headline is discussing ripping me off and putting my family in a precarious financial situation while BS rages elsewhere.

Jeff said...

And since when Bruce do you want public money for private specialized interests via an ineffective lobbyist? They really put a halt to the minimum wage increase. At least Jailbird Jack did the disgusting thing he was paid to do, as our governor reminds us.

Rick Jones said...

Hope this all works out for you, Jeff. Half my friends here are public school teachers, hate to see anyone get hurt.

That being said, free chicken nuggets are not going to be on the menu at Java Joe's anytime soon, though I will buy your next order for mentioning us at all.

Rick

Jeff said...

That's a start, Rick. Thanks.

marianas life said...

I am not workin for free either! I don't have an aunt who'll let me live on her land for free, or a cousin at CUC who'll remove my name from the disconnect list. And even if it is a ploy to put the gov. on the spot. its fucking bad for morale and adds about 10 times the stress to an already stressful and thankless job.

marianas life said...

jeff, where was that article published? i can't find it.

glend558 said...

Way to go Jeff! Sock it to 'um. But I think this is a common 'scare tatic' used to collect monies due. They will come up with it at the last possiable second and avoid a crisis. Although right now it does no good for your stress factor. For you and all the others I hope it will come through.

Jeff said...

It's yesterday's Variety, which has a horrid link system that changes after it's published.

Thanks everyone.

Jeff said...

Link updated.

Joe said...

I know of one place that the State took over a City run school system. That took place in the early 90's in Hartford ,Conn.& think the State is still controlling it. That's what should be done to ALL the Criminals!!

Jeff said...

Glen, you're probably right. But as Bree said, it's terrible for morale. It's also terrible for our reputation and just plain terrible.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Front page of yesterday's (Monday Sept., 3rd) Variety.

Jeff, If you get no paycheck, you have your first 10 mojitos coming free, on the house. Once calm, we will discuss an all out frontal assault on the Finance Department to wrest teacher/administrator pay from their grasp.

I think there is little chance of even a short delay. I'm betting it is the 'pay us or else' ploy. I don't think Thornburg gets enough air time.

Jeff said...

How about one for the aggravation of that headline? I will make you one of mine tonight if you come by to see the amp.

Boni said...

Scare tactic, horrible for morale, not a smart move on PSS's part. Comment about aunt and CUC was completely offensive to me.

Jeff said...

Actually I don't blame PSS. I blame the legislature for not doing what they said they would do and creating this mess with little time remaining. If this is serious, school must be closed, as it's fraudulent to send people to do work you know you can't pay for. It's called theft of services.

marianas life said...

sorry to offend boni. just recalling last april when my cuc got shut off after being late for one payment of $60 and i was charged a $75 reconnect fee. On that same day, several employees of CUC were arrested for stealing money and getting their friends and relatives off the disconnect list. I remember being extremely pissed off. I also work with someone who's sister in law works for revenue and can pull strings to get rebate checks. I will always pay rent, never have land to fall back on as equity to get me through hard times and have no extended family to support me when i can't make ends meet. i have to leave here in order to receive the same social safety net many locals afford. that is inequitable.

Boni said...

I remember when my grandmother was dying and I couldn't make it to CUC and I got my power cut off. I paid a re-connect, my bill, and the two highest bills of that year to get my power back. It cost almost $850.00. None of my relatives helped me pay get hooked up for free. I know lots of people who can pull strings, but Tony and I haven't even gotten our 2005 tax rebates yet. It's not right to generalize.

I blame the legislature for the lack of funding (proper funding). I dislike PSS's strategy in dealing with it.

marianas life said...

you're right, generalizing isn't fair and that wasn't my intent. i have issues with the strings. how do we cut those strings?

Boni said...

I hate strings too, and I usually just ignore them. It may not be the right thing, but it's less stressful than being the ethics police. That's the job of other people. I don't know if the finance thing is about strings. What I know about finance is that if you write a letter requesting your rebate because there is a situation that requires you to have money right away, they will prioritize your check being processed. I did that once when I had to go for medical off-island.

Jeff said...

Who doesn't need money right away? What an absurd concept.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Late Rebates: The key there is to not give them more than they deserve. I hear the argument that people leave their money with the government via excess payroll taxes so they can "save up" and get a big check at the end of the year. Even if you actually got it on time, you would still be making an interest free loan to the government treasury.

Pay in no more than you are likely to owe. You are far better off breaking even or even paying a small tax due at the end of the year than loaning your hard earned cash to Mr. Inos. (Not saying that he uses it personally, just personalizing the Finance Department with the name of it's Department head).

BOHICA said...

Jeff, don't waste your time and PSS's money with whacky threats or frivolous lawsuits about "fraud."

Likewise, a "No Child Left Behind" state takeover would merely mean letting the Governor run PSS instead of the Board of Education. Yes, he might be more ruthless in cost-cutting, but he cannot print money himself.

You do have options, however.

Your paycheck is for work already performed. If you're not paid, you become a creditor. If a certain amount of creditors go unpaid, they may be able to file an involuntary bankruptcy petition against PSS in federal court.

That may be the closest you'll come to a federal takeover of PSS.

You and your buddies might want to see a creditors' bankruptcy lawyer.

Then again, if you'd prefer to see what money PSS does have going toward education rather than bankruptcy estate fees, you may not.

bradinthesand said...

so are you guys working on monday or not?

Jeff said...

There is no indignity teachers here won't put put up with, that's why they keep getting those things thrust upon them. Until the paycheck doesn't arrive, and who knows for some even longer than that, they'll be there.