In the Dark

June 2, 2010


CUC Executive Director Tony Muna, who submitted his resignation on Friday, told the press that the island of Saipan may be in the dark by this weekend. There is no money to pay for the fuel to run the power plants, and the CNMI coffers are empty. The director advised the public to store water and buy candles.

Mr. Muna said that he informed the governor and legislature about the crisis on May 19, 2010. Perhaps they were too busy writing resolutions against the DOI Report and planning rallies to deal with the crisis.

Mr. Muna told the Marianas Variety:
In order to sustain the operation of PP1, he said they need to pay Mobil $431,474.40 today so the company can deliver fuel on June 4, Friday.

CUC also needed to pay $364,698.60 for PP4’s fuel supply on June 2 so the Mobil can deliver fuel on June 3, today.

But he said they need to buy fuel for PP4 this morning so they should have enough to “survive the weekend.”

CUC bought fuel for Rota yesterday but it was only enough for another week.

On Tinian, fuel will be delivered on June 6 but CUC needs to pay $657,338 on Friday.

Otherwise, Tinian will be out of fuel by June 17.

Muna said by June 5, CUC will have to start the rolling blackouts since PP4 will have no more fuel to run its generators.

By Saturday, if there’s still no fuel, PP1 will shut down and there will be an islandwide blackout, he said.
How can CUC and the CNMI leaders allow the public utility to get to the point that a blackout is predicted because of lack of funds?

How much money does the governor pay his special advisors? These include "Special Counsel" Howard Willens, "Labor Volunteer" Deanne Siemer, Senior Policy Advisor Ray Mafnas, Special Assistant for Political Affairs Dolores Aldan, Special Adviser Thomas Salas, Special Adviser Shiheyoshi Kato, Special Adviser Dan Nielsen, Special Adviser Dr. James Quick and who knows who else? (Check out the governor's web site for more details.)

How much money has been, and is being paid to Jenner and Block Fitial's Washington, DC-based law firm that filed the anti-federalization lawsuit? What is the tab to date and is it still running?

How much money is spent on the Indigenous Affairs Office, Women's Affairs Office, and Carolinian Affairs Office? Are these offices necessary when the coffers have run dry? How much was spent on the hate-fest/rally?

CNMI leaders have spent tens of thousands of dollars traveling to the Marshall Islands, Japan, Washington DC, Arizona and California, Washington, DC, and other destinations in recent months. Is travel necessary when there are desperate needs and crucial bills that must be paid?

CUC also has to deal with fines from EPA that is has not paid.

On May 29, 2010 Muna sent a two-page letter to the governor stating that government offices, including schools would receive disconnection notices for failure to pay utility bills. The CNMI government owes CUC $3.8 million and as of the day of the letter owed vendors $2.4 million.

Perhaps the governor will call Washington to bail them out. He can use the old CNMI line, "Go to hell federal government, and by the way can I have a few million?"

36 comments:

The Saipan Blogger said...

John Joyner is the new Ray Mafnas. I think Mafnas is down at corrections, right?

Tony Muna deserves a pat on the back for resigning. From the statements he made in the media he does not sound very happy with the Fitial Administration. Good for him.

Anonymous said...

If you are selling your product too expensive nobody will buy or they buy only if necessary so no profit. If you sell cheap more sold and more profit could be.
Since power is so expensive, I stop using my aircon (only in the room), stop oven, stop micro, almost everything is idle in the house. So no profit for CUC.

Anonymous said...

The problem is the Government doesn't pay its bills! Tony is asking the Government through the Governor to pay the bill. The Governor is the largest customer and this fox has taken over the henhouse! Why would the Governor pay at all when no one can force him to pay; no one can disconnect; and if the residents' homes go dark, the government offices will not.

We the residential and commercial customers are subsidizing government, not paying for the costs of government- SUBSIDIZING. Tony Muna threw in the towel and declared victory because he knew that he was in between the reef and 20 ft. waves and about to get pounded. Like any smart graduate of the Naval Academy, he decided to reposition himself and relocate.

We'll see Tony back at OMB within a month or two after he takes his vacation and gets some counseling for stress, depression, denial, and all the usual symptoms of a well-intentioned and moral person who went lost in the Bermuda Triangle of Ben Tan.

Itos said...

What a shame NMI government have money to fight the federal government but now they don't have money to buy a fuel? CUC will double the cost of metered and unmetered water but we don't have 24hour running water...CUC will double the cost of sewer,how can they double the cost of sewer line if you dont have water running in your house. NOW WHO WILL SUFFER AGAIN? WHO ELSE BUT US THE PUBLIC.

Anonymous said...

Saipan has some of the highest rates of sunlight on the planet, and solar panel prices have dropped 40% since last year. Spain lifted their subsidies and panel supply has increased by Chinese manufacturers. Additionally, grid-tie systems of pumping unused electricity back into the power supply have been advanced and are relatively inexpensive. The federal energy ARRA grant could have been used for this purpose instead of new refrigerators. If article 12 was lifted, homeowners could obtain equity lines on their homes, purchase the solar system, and save money every month. New construction jobs would be created, and the savings off the electric bill could go help stimulate the economy.

Anonymous said...

there's feds to rescue CUC...what cha talkin 'bout..

Captain said...

This Gov. had and still hires people without any thought of how he will pay them. Nobody will divulge how many workers are on the NMI payroll. By dividing the amount of ADMITTED PAYROLL it comes out to about 5k employees.
This with all of the other non essential "special asst" "volunteers" and other highly paid uneducated political hires is a "big chunk of change"
The fact remains, like after every past pre-election hires, a major layoff will have to happen to get the spending back in line.(unfortunately a fact of economics)

It also would be interesting to see what the customer base at CUC is now compared to pre-election.
With a decline in the customer base caused by the exodus of many families to the US mainland would have a big effect on revenue.
This same effect happened after the first election of this "clown"

But one thing that I read into this "fuel crisis".(Tribune.)
This looks like it may be a ploy for the legislature to pass a law to let the Gov indiscriminately reprogram funds(again)that he (Gov)won't have to be accountable for.

The one alternative that I can see is if the Fed take CUC in receivership. But how long would that take.

Looks like Muna might have a lot to say about this admin once he is completely free from it.
He already seems to be "snipping" at the admin.

It is unbelievable that it seems that none of these do nothing elected have the brains to realize that everything is crumbling around them.
If they do realize it, they probably have not the slightest idea of what to do about it but to follow the "Judas Goat" (the Gov.)

Well I guess for many of us it may be time to go and relax and go back to our respective places off island until the lights come back on.

Well the people wanted this bunch of "clowns" and they got it. How much is "Indigenous rights" going to help now. Curse the US Feds with your hand out while asking them to bail this place out again.
It would be best to let this place sink and pull out funding like the Marshalls. Let Fitial and his "connected" have it.

Anonymous said...

Tony did not express displeasure with the Administration, but merely emphasized the critical fact that the Government must pay for the fuel it uses. There is no other option.

Mr. Muna never intended to make a career out of CUC. His professional history has focused on finance and accounting. Yes, he took engineering courses at the Naval Academy as everyone must to graduate, but his role at CUC was to provide honest leadership and integrity, to keep the ship afloat.

While CUC does seem destined for some more rough water soon (and we have been well advised to batten down the hatches, stock water, and buy candles), it is not headed for the reef to run aground. CUC is in a lot better shape than when he arrived, with good sound technical people onboard and a return to scheduled maintenance.

The Commonwealth owes him a “Bravo Zulu” for a job well done.

Anonymous said...

The myth of excess personnel is like the rumor of ongoing Covenant Section 903 anti-federalization lawsuit payments -- easily made by Fitial's political opponents but without factual basis.

The fact is that Fitial has cut more employees than any governor in history.

The number of current employees is readily available by an Open Government Act request either to OPM or the NMIRF.

Anonymous said...

The CNMI is in sore need of a full and complete desk audit with specific recommendations made as to combination and reduction of jobs. Down to specific names. This would work in conjuntion with the Civil Service Commission to make sure that none of their precious rights are abused. The Legislature and the Governor need to distance themselves from this, much like the BRAC (Miltary Base Closure) group did. The lawmakers said "It was them that closed the base, not us!, and it this case let them have their denial.
It has to be done. It would make sense. The CNMI cannot go forward without it. Will it happen....NAH!

Anonymous said...

Noni 12:22PM,

You really need to back up your BS with data. Oh, that is right, it is BS so there is no data.

As of today Fitial has spent in excess of $3 million dollars on the lawsuit filed against the federal government.

As of today the number of Government Workers employed is greater than any point in the history of the CNMI. We have 4,363 FTEs. This number does not even include the all of the specially contracted individuals. This administration has the most of those as well, besting even Babauta.

Anonymous said...

as i am reading the column i can not stop laughing, anyway laughter is the best medicine. local government are fighting for themselves however the truth they can not stand by themselves if without these long term guest workers developed this island with their sweat and tears with their employers there is no saipan maybe until this time still tangan tangan that the local people could not do it. so what is federal doing, of course feds will be the one to rescue on this problem. he he he he he

Anonymous said...

Oh.. the loyal zealots of Ben Tan.. ok, yes, Ben Fitial is the greatest governor of the CNMI EVER! He is the best. Never mind the problems. Tony Muna says he fixed it. Darn it, he fixed it. Believe Ben and you'll be rewarded.

Anonymous said...

Noni 9:42

The feds better not rescue CUC. It is the worse thing that could happen. Maybe if everyone sits in the dark for a couple weeks the blind followers of Fitial will get a clue.

Saipan Writer said...

I guess we see what we want to see.

For those who support the Covenant party, they like Tony Muna; they see an intelligent man with education who is competent at the jobs he takes on. They see a man who goes to church and is therefore, obviously, "moral."

They see an improved CUC, thanks to Tony. They see "better times," an administration that is facing insurmountable obstacles and doing its best. They see a lean government that is not bloated, but is fiscally managed. They see Fitial as a leader.

I'm just amazed. Simply amazed.

Wonder what they'll see when the lights go out.

Anonymous said...

You are right Wnedy. This administration prepare to spend the money infighting the federal government rather than to spend it for solving the insurmountable problems here. Gov. Fitial would rather spend the govt. money for the law firm in Washington D.C., Willens,etc. than to pay CUC. I am not aware that one of Gov. Fitial's special adviser is a guy who is promoting the use of wind turbine. I thought he is selling this product to the government. How come he become a special adviser?

Wendy,Do you think the US Congress would not act on the DOI report this year? OCW are worried because all umbrella permits will expire next year. What can you suggest to us OCW so that the US Congress can take immediate action on the DOI report? Do you know the email address of Mr. Syed and Mr. Doca? I would like to communicate with them but I do not have a telephone in the house and I do not want to use my office time for this purpose. Thank you very much and God Bless.

The Saipan Blogger said...

A few weeks in the dark might be good for the CNMI.

And in good, I mean really, really bad. But it might be good in that the people might react like a drug addict hitting rock bottom.

Good in that there would be nowhere to go but up.

Itos said...

A lot of things to do than to fight the FEDS.rather than to fight the status of the guest workers anyway the black out is already start last night at garapan area for an hour.

ANONYMOUS 8:16 pm the congress can act to the DOI recomendation any time,they have better plans even this month or next month they can give the guest wokers US CITIZEN SHIP just be patient.they will cut the chain and give the guest workers freedom and all rights...

Anonymous said...

President Obama send in the Marines and take over the CNMI. PLEASE SAVE US!

Anonymous said...

Declare martial law and install Tina as Governor.

Green cards for all!

Anonymous said...

As of today Fitial has spent in excess of $3 million dollars on the lawsuit filed against the federal government.

As of today the number of Government Workers employed is greater than any point in the history of the CNMI. We have 4,363 FTEs.


Where in the world do these numbers come from?!

What is your source? If true, why isn't this reported in the local newspapers?

Anonymous said...

We've hit Rock Bottom when we see Juan Nekai and Ben Tan together having beers at Godfather's. They fiddle and engage in hedonism while CUC burns. Two peas in a pod.

Anonymous said...

Earth to commenters, Earth to commenters. A desk audit is not being done, because past desk audits have resulted in across the board higher pay. You might not like to hear that, but that is the truth. A real desk audit might find a few ways to cut, but the overall result will be salary increases. This is the reason that desk audit was scratched.

Anonymous said...

there are far too many good "local", but mostly "non-local" people working their butts off for the CNMI at a very low wage. this is why no local kids come back from college, unless they are 'connected'- low wage! it is a true disaster our home is.

Isa said...

I don't understand all the attention for Tina Sablan. She's barely younger than Sen. Ralph Torres and she's older than Rep. Edmund Villagomez. What about those two outstanding young leaders? Don't they deserve their chance to be idolized?

Anonymous said...

The reason the desk audit was done was to justify higher pay. "Look at what we get paid! The auditors said we need an increase!"
The only way the salaries go up in general is if you have a baseline to compare it to. Maybe they should be paid more. Sorry, but the best we can do is let you keep your job! Again, it won't happen because it would cost people their jobs and, well, that just cannot happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone, for any reason, ever, ever.

Anonymous said...

Joe Taijeron for Governor!

Anonymous said...

Why don't the papers cover all kinds of gooey things?

Did the papers cover the Governor's speech to Congress on the 18th? Really?

So you read in the papers that our CNMI Governor pleaded with US Congress to move quickly to include Guam in the Visa waiver program for Russia and China. He said that the law needed to be changed quickly. He said "what is good for Guam is good for here".

Where was that in the papers? The video of his testimony is online.

Where is the HANMI and Chamber response to their illustrious Governor lobbying hard for Guam to take away the Russia and China tourist they said we so direly needed?

Give me a break. You can put Tina or the frog in my back yard in as Governor. Just get rid of Fitial!

Anonymous said...

Isa,

Tina does not actively solicit the attention. You ask, what about Ralph and Ed. You tell me. Why are they not idolized?

What is their stance on any of the pressing issues in the CNMI? When was the last time they spoke openly to the people of the CNMI?

You make it sound as though they should get respect and attention simply because of their ages. This is about principled stances, ethics, transparency, and a departure from the games that we are all playing on this island.

We need people with foresight and balls to stand up for what they believe. We need statesmen (and women) not more of the same politicos.

Can Ed and Ralph be the leaders we are all hoping for? I don't know. Have they been? You tell me and qualify it.

Green Cards for All! said...

Is Joe Taijeron older than Glen Hunter? I didn't see Joe at the Unity March.

Anonymous said...

Ed and Ralph are pleasant chuckleheads. Tina's got smarts and guts.

The Saipan Blogger said...

Fitial is also lobbying to give away all the benefits of the monument.

Anonymous said...

Talking about money...

I learned that Lynn Knight is back on somebody's payroll as the Fitial's Liaison (or something) in DC.

Fitial also just hired someone to work at the Hawaii medical referral office.

All these at a time when the government needs to cut spending.

Anonymous said...

"What's good for Guam is good for the CNMI"

-Fitial's new mantra


So why is/was he fighting against Federal immigration control? Guam has/had it.


I have no idea how he thinks granting Visa Waivers to Russian and Chinese tourist going to Guam is in any way good for the CNMI.

Where is the uproar from Chamber or HANMI? could it be because the members of these organizations have already moved most of their main enterprises to Guam? Selling the CNMI up the river.

Anonymous said...

Joe Taijeron... hmm.. Ben Tan's favorite deputy AG? Bucky was told to kick that can down the street and he did. He sold out his only friend. Bucky not only can't play well with others, he'll sell his brother to keep playing.

Ralphy is just Ralphy... move up the ranks by saying the right things and offending no one.... until it matters. Then he'll follow Kilili and Ben Tan and please everyone all of the time.

RED OCTOBER said...

CNMI govt. will fall of its own heavy weight, TICK,TICK,TICK,Prepare your candles and flashlights folks,welcome back to the stone age.