Fitial Political Favors: Money down the drain

April 26, 2010


While government workers will have their hours cut to meet the governor's call for austerity, there is nothing frugal about the governor's hiring practice. It involves awarding high-paying jobs to loyal Covenant Party followers regardless of qualifications, experience or criminal background.

There is outrage that Felix Nogis was hired as a consultant for the Department of Public Lands for $60,000. He was hired under a one-year sole source contract. The Tribune reported that "Nogis will be working with investors and developers in identifying laws and regulations that would enhance DPL's efforts on economic development."

From the Tribune:
Government officials and employees, who declined to be identified for fear of retaliation, questioned Nogis' qualification and criminal background as a convicted federal felon, as well as the Fitial administration's decision to hire him on a sole-source contract when contract or excepted service employees will be getting a 12.5-percent cut in their salaries next month.
The Marianas Variety reported that his pay is equivalent to that of three low-ranking government officials and pointed out that he will earn more than a cabinet member with a salary cap of $50,000.

The Saipan Tribune reported:
Nogis, doing business as FELNO Consulting Services, is a Covenant Party member and a member of the Fitial-Inos Transition Review Committee. He is chairman of the Committee to Elect Joseph N. Camacho as CNMI Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives under the ruling Covenant Party.

Gov. Benigno R. Fitial declined to comment on the matter when asked on Saturday after the opening ceremonies for the 29th Annual Flame Tree Arts Festival in Susupe.
Does Governor Fitial comment on anything? Did he comment on massage-gate, on gun-gate, on parole-gate, or on the situation in the Office of the Attorney General?

It appears that no consideration was given to the fact that Mr. Nogis has no experience in the job for which he was hired or to the fact that he has a criminal record. As a Fitial supporter and Covenant Party supporter he was rewarded with a cushy job.

Nogis is a convicted felon. He was arrested in 2003 for embezzling federal funds from the Workforce Investment Act Office. He made and received over $15,000 in telephone calls to and from Palau, Japan and Western Samoa and charged them to to the WIA's communication account for payment. The calls were to a person with whom he had a personal relationship. (Who talks that much?) He was convicted of those charges.

In 2006 Nogis and two others were sued by the Bank of Saipan was nonpayment of a $100,000 loan.

In April 2010 Rep. Stanley Torres introduced a H.B. 17-52, a bill that would allow convicted felons with the exception of sexual offenders to petition the courts to expunge their records. Was the Covenant Party Representative introducing it to justify hiring of Nogis and other convicted criminals? The Marianas Variety reported:
Rep. Stanley T. Torres, who sponsored House Bill 17-52, or the Expungement Act of 2010, said many law-abiding citizens of the CNMI are “unfairly burdened and unduly prejudiced for life by the stigma and the record associated with a criminal offense they committed in the past.”

The Fitial administration has been criticized for hiring people with criminal records or nominating them to government positions.

Torres, Ind.-Saipan, is aligned with the ruling Covenant Party.

He said convicted felons who have paid their dues to society should not be denied opportunities.

“These citizens lose employment opportunities and suffer other harsh consequences, even though they have already been punished, have already repaid society for their past mistake, and have been rehabilitated as good citizens,” said Torres. “These citizens deserve a fresh start in life once they have paid their dues to society and have shown contrition and been rehabilitated, and sufficient time has passed to prove their overall respect for the laws of the land.”
Weekend furloughs, lenient sentences and early release are the norm, so why not a law like this? The CNMI is known as a place that rewards criminals and sticks it to victims so this should not be a surprise.

Nogis is not the only one to receive a high-paying job in exchange for Covenant Party loyalty. Also working now at DPL is losing Covenant party mayoral candidate for the northern Islands, Ramona Rebuenog who is earning $35,000 as a liaison for DPL projects to the northern islands. Patricia Rasa wife of the notorious Oscar Rasa is working at DPL as the supervisor of the planning division. All loyal Fitial, anti-federalization Covenant party members.

The hiring is not confined to the DPL. Fitial also has "special advisors" such as Howard Willens and Dolores Aldan, the former Commissioner of the Department of Corrections on the payroll. John Joyner was recently hired as Fitial's senior policy advisor.

Office of the Attorney General is a Sinking Ship

One of the four remaining prosecutors at the OAG, Jennifer Docketer resigned. She joins the unprecedented exodus of attorneys from the OAG. Uncertainty in the office is the reason given for her resignation. The Marianas Variety reported:
In an e-mail to the Variety, Dockter said: “I love my work at the prosecutor’s office. I will miss the staff, the officers at [the Department of Public Safety], and the other prosecutors [at the Attorney General’s Office].”

“However, the [AGO] criminal division is in the midst of uncertainty and I am not confident that it can be turned around in the near future,” Dockter added.

She said “in light of the opportunity at the [Supreme] Court, I can no longer justify staying at the AG’s office regardless of how much I enjoy serving the community in this capacity.”
Attorney Dockter has accepted a position of the Supreme Court clerk and the judiciary's general counsel. There are only two prosecutors and the chief prosecutor left.

You asked for it, you're getting it is a spot on editorial by Zaldy Dandan that nails it:
Let's save money. Let’s close down the judiciary as there is no need for it based on the governor and his parole board’s decision to release an apparently well-connected inmate guilty of a long list of very serious transgressions.

The Attorney General’s Office, moreover, forgives other favored offenders in willy-nilly fashion and is quick to justify the governor’s highly questionable actions — and appointments (his former lt. governor, commerce secretary, CUC executive director and driver have all been criminally charged and convicted, and among the ruling party’s rah-rah boys are other former convicted criminals; and don’t forget his masseuse).

Clearly there is no need for the courts and this is probably why the governor wants to gut the judiciary’s budget.

And what is the reaction of the people to the governor’s latest grave abuse of discretion? Except for a letter to the editor and anonymous postings on our Web site — nating. Any expressions of concerns from the so-called opposition lawmakers on Capital Hill? Taya again.

Four months down, four years and eight months to go. That’s not a prison sentence, by the way, but the administration’s remaining term in office.
Where is the public outrage? Why isn't the legislature addressing some of these outrageous happenings?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The NMI is the laughing stock of America. Covenant stands for corruption, crooks, crazy, crap and criminals.

Anonymous said...

I am desperately seeking advise from all that read these comments. I am currently unemployed and my resume might keep from getting a really good job. Here are my problems. 1. I am not a convicted felon. Additionally, I have not stolen from the CNMI public while employed by the CNMI Government and made a plea agreement.
2. I did not support Uncle Ben during his initial and re-election process by spying, reporting, applying pressure or threatening voters, nor did I purchase mass quantities of alcohol for distribution, and lastly, I did not pay anyones electric bill. I totally missed out on the Guest Worker Slavery Scam with Uncle Ben, Willy Tan and ex-governor Tenorio.
3. Please don't think badly of me for this terrible act, but I did not Massage Uncle Ben. I did not call him to get me out of jail when I was arrested for massaging others.
4. I have served our Country in Peace and in Wartime and have various Degrees. This being said, this might be grounds to disqualify me for any employment that requires such integrity and education.
5. My immediate family members do not hold any upper CNMI Government positions that I could hitch a ride on, as well as my non immediate family members, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.
6. Since Uncle Ben's re-election, I have repressed my outrage or voiced my opinion as one of my immediate family members is an abused Government employee and not only fear, but know, that that job would be terminated as reprisal if I do open my mouth.

I do have a plan but need assistance with the details. I would like suggestions on:
1. What crime do I need to commit and be convicted (with all jail time as time served, maybe one or two days). It needs to be a crime against the CNMI people and should have something to do with stealing large amounts of money or property.
2. I need to get under Uncle Bens radar as a supporter. Maybe wearing Green shirts and standing on street corners holding signs, yelling and taking names of those that show signs of non support.
3. I need to report to Uncle Ben at various times, 24 hours on call, to perform special massages or whatever he wants to rub on.
4. I need to have my Honorable Discharge to be revoked and have it changed to Dishonorable. I need to say my degrees are fakes and act just plain ignorant when applying for position.
5. I need to get a divorce and separate myself from my current family and find a Covenant Party member that I could marry into that family. Maybe I could beat my soon to be ex-spouse and dry fire an illegal weapon at her head. I would of course have to lose the gun.
6. I could purchase some loud speakers and mount them on my vehicle and drive around preaching the word of Uncle Ben. Praise BE. Let it BE.

Please help me become the man I need to be so I can have a new Special Assistant Position created or get that sole source contract. Please help me become the Scum I know I can BE. Praise BE. Let it BE. Hail BE. Me rub you long time.

Employment for sure said...

6:14 I feel your pain. Your ideas are fine, but why stop there? Get Fitial's face tattooed on one butt cheek and Bucky Boy's on the other.

Don't divorce your wife. Bigamy might be a crime that you could use to your advantage. Do use a pistol on her or otherwise torture her before you leave though. The guv likes that. Behavior like that is rewarded.

Marry Cinta Kaipat and have the guv officiate. He will like that. Ask David Tanaka Diaz to sing at your wedding. I know he has to be at his house at night, but the guv will let him out. Get the DOC to release Aldan and 6 other prisoners loyal to the guv to be your ushers. If you have the wedding on a weekend they'll all be furloughed anyway.

Get a driver that pushes drugs and allow him to deal from your car. Better yet steal a car and have your driver deal from that car. The guv will like that.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

6:14

1. What crime for 1-2 days? Murder someone who didn't vote for Fitial.

2. Green shirts was for the campaign. Wear a "I love Ben" shirt.

3. Buy special oils.

4. Say you went AWOL. Trade in the degrees for an 8th grade diploma.

5. I like marrying Cinta. Go for it, but use the dry gun on her not your real wife and don't lose it, sell it to the convicted murderer who just got out.

6. Have your drug dealing driver do the speaker-preacher for you while you chill at a club.

Anonymous said...

This is what the CNMI is going to put up with for more than four more years! This is just the beginning! He seems to be immune from all these shady dealings. And why not! He is not going to serve another term. Remember the movie "Animal House" when Dean Wermer said the Delta's were on "double secret probation". What does the frat do? They have a toga party!! This will be one four year toga party for Uncle Ben and the rest of the Fraternity and at the end the CNMI will look a lot the town in the movie.