Thursday, October 18, 2007

Now I understand -- not really

To reiterate, here is Gov. Fitial's statement of 9/13:

"We are proposing that all 14 holidays for FY 2008 be unpaid holidays. Only those government employees who work on a holiday will be paid. We expect savings of $6.5 million as a result of unpaid holidays. The participation of all government employees — including NMC, MVA, PSS — is a must. No exemptions,” said the governor.

Here is what the bill's sponsor said on 10/18, note the word all:

According to Senate President Joseph M. Mendiola, Covenant-Tinian and sponsor of the bill, by suspending salary payments to all civil servants for 14 holidays, the government will save $7 million.

Here is House Speaker Oscar Babauta on 10/18 via the Saipan Tribune:

"House Speaker Oscar M. Babauta allayed Borja's fears, saying that teachers and teacher-aides would not be affected at all since the unpaid holiday bill would cover only legal holidays.“I believe there are no schools during legal holidays,” he said, adding that the teachers and teacher-aides are not required to come to school during these holidays."

Here is the follow up question that was never asked that should have been:

"Speaker Babauta, the goal of this proposal is to not pay government workers for holidays. Of course there is no school during holidays. That's the point of this bill, not to pay on holidays. The governor said there are "no exceptions including PSS." Did you discuss this bill with him? Are you unwilling to do what the governor, the leader of your party, wants on this austerity bill?"

Both papers do not ask the obvious follow up questions, and in fact, I might start a regular feature in this blog called "where is the follow up question."

What does Babauta's statement even mean? Is there anyone on the same page up on the hill?

During last night's Board of Education round table discussion, I asked the candidates about the payless payday threat. In fact, I asked all the candidates about this issue in the three forums I moderated. Ray Dela Cruz, the only candidate in all the forums to turn me off and to specifically ensure I wouldn't vote for him and would discourage others from voting for him, acted like it wasn't a big deal. He termed it "speculation," which happens to be the nature of all threats. Dela Cruz is clearly the Administration's candidate and supports their hair brained Austerity Bill, the only Senate Candidate to do so.

Current Board of Education chairman Roman Benavente told me that PSS planned to close down school that Monday after the payless threat, and he said the governor didn't want PSS to say anything about a payless payday unless the governor specifically said there would be one, even though the governor's spokesman gave "no assurances" they would make payroll that day.

Again, I'm convinced there is just no communication and no planning on Capitol Hill.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They cannot plan because they cannot even ask (themselves) the questions.