Conflicts of Interest?

October 27, 2010

Earlier this year Management Analysis, Inc. was awarded a $300,000 contract to conduct a desk audit for the CNMI government.  The government was billed for $254,459.12 to conduct desks audits of the CNMI Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and the Department of Public Safety.

The grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Interior, was questioned because it was discovered that the Governor's former lobbyist and "representative" in Washington DC, Lynn Knight is employed as a project manager by MAI.


The Saipan Tribune revealed that a June 2010 sole-source contract for Lynn Knight in the amount of $48,000 was penned by the governor to pay her for “public relations and administrative support in Washington, D.C.”  The governor's press secretary, Angel Demapan claims that  no "notice to proceed has been issued." The contract was set to expire December 31, 2010.

From the Tribune:
Had Knight billed the government for work done covered by the contract, Demapan said the money would have come from the governor's office account.

“This is not federally funded. The funding would have come from the local government,” he said.

The governor, in his June 2 memo justifying the proposed contract for Knight, said that pursuant to Section 70-30.3-225 (a)(7), sole-source procurement is permitted “for policy consultants of the governor, lieutenant governor, and presiding officers of the Legislature.”

“In addition to this, the Executive Branch does not maintain an office in Washington, D.C. and finds that having a liaison will help bridge the gap between the local and national governments,” Fitial told the director of the Procurement and Supply Division in a June 22 memo.

The governor said Knight's expertise as a professional business executive and a long-time resident of the CNMI “will serve as effective and instrumental tools in her ability to perform her duties pursuant to the proposed contract while in Washington, D.C. As the expenditure authority, I hereby determine that entering into this contract with Ms. Knight will be highly beneficial to the Commonwealth,” Fitial said.
This is so ridiculous. The CNMI is represented by U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Sablan in Washington! This magnifies the gap between Fitial and anyone who does not push his far out agenda. He may want to learn to play nice with those in Congress and other federal officials.

Meanwhile KSPN2 reports that the DOI stated that there is nothing irregular with the MAI contract, but the unused money should be returned to the OIA.   Questions of conflict will remain as long as Knight continues to work for both MAI and the governor.

Voting Concerns

Candidates for the U.S. Delegate seat are raising concerns about early voting irregularities.  Republican candidate Juan Babuata said he received complaints of voter intimidation, which he turned over to the FBI. Democratic candidate Jesus Borja said that some voters are exploiting early voting, and U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Sablan echoed his sentiments.

On the other hand, Covenant candidate Joseph Camacho claims that other candidates, "are not taking advantage of the early voting process and they should talk to their supporters."

Congressman Sablan said, "The law was not created for candidates."

Over 1,000 people have voted in early voting. In the CNMI, there are only 6 reasons to vote early:
1. the conduct of business;
2. the necessity of travel; serving in the U.S. military;
3. receiving treatment at a medical institution;
4. government representation; or
5. accompanying a member of the household who is engaged in any of the activities listed above.

Covenant Party Encourage Breaking Federal Law


There is a campaign ad on KSPN2 new that was broadcast on October 27, 2010 that advocates breaking federal law.  The Covenant Party states that  citizens should be given job preference over aliens for jobs. This is illegal!

The ad states: "The Covenant Party is working hard to ...enforce our laws that give our citizens preference... We can make job preference work."

Candidate Camacho repeated the same line before the Saipan Chamber of Commerce earlier this month.

Here is what federal law says regarding U.S. citizen job preference:
Title VII

Title VII prohibits not only intentional discrimination, but also practices that have the effect of discriminating against individuals because of their race, color, national origin, religion, or sex.

National Origin Discrimination

It is illegal to discriminate against an individual because of birthplace, ancestry, culture, or linguistic characteristics common to a specific ethnic group.
A rule requiring that employees speak only English on the job may violate Title VII unless an employer shows that the requirement is necessary for conducting business. If the employer believes such a rule is necessary, employees must be informed when English is required and the consequences for violating the rule.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 requires employers to assure that employees hired are legally authorized to work in the U.S. However, an employer who requests employment verification only for individuals of a particular national origin, or individuals who appear to be or sound foreign, may violate both Title VII and IRCA; verification must be obtained from all applicants and employees.
Employers who impose citizenship requirements or give preferences to U.S. citizens in hiring or employment opportunities also may violate IRCA.

Additional information about IRCA may be obtained from the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices at 1-800-255-7688 (voice), 1-800-237-2515 (TTY for employees/applicants) or 1-800-362-2735 (TTY for employers) or at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/osc.
I thought this candidate was an attorney.

Another Complaint Against DPS Deputy Commissioner Ogumoro
The conflicts of interest continue at DPS.

A complaint was filed against Deputy Commissioner Ogumoro saying that he violated the competitive selection process by refusing to relieve temporary Driver License Technician Connie Lynn Iglecias, so that Lupe Blas Repeki, who had been selected to fill the position permanently could fill the position.

Connie Lyn Manglona Iglecias is the daughter of Police Officer Katherine Manglona, who is Ogumoro’s common-law wife.

The position in question is federally funded.

The Marianas Variety stated:
“For the benefit of all of DPS and its employees, Repeki also believes that DPS should institute immediate corrective action to force compliance by Ogumoro and Tudela with the CNMI Personnel Service System Rules and Regulations and other binding federal and commonwealth laws,” the complaint said.

Repeki is also asking for protection from Ogumoro’s retaliation.

Sgt. James C. Deleon Guerrero earlier filed a complaint against Ogumoro for non-compliance with the CNMI Personnel Service System Rules and Regulations.

Deleon Guerrero also accused Ogumoro of harassment, abuse of authority and creating a hostile work environment.
There should be federal auditors based permanently in the CNMI.

3 comments:

The Saipan Blogger said...

Most locals either won't do or can't do the jobs that contract workers fill. Most of the middle management jobs have already been given to locals.

Anonymous said...

I don't dislike Joe Camacho as a person, but I'm afraid he is not the right person for this job for one simple reason. He is the Governor's boy and will do whatever the Governor tells him to do. The Governor dispises the US Government and with Camacho in charge this hatred will manifest itself in a very negative manner for the CNMI. I think our current Congressman has done a respectable job in Washington. We need someone to "make nice" with the Feds. Our does our current Government wish that all Federal money should be pulled out the CNMI. If that is case then we had all better learn how to fish and farm.

Anonymous said...

The “conduct of business” is a very broad justification for voting early that covers almost anyone from homemaker to bush-cutter.

This is as it should be, because voting is a fundamental right that should be made easy and simple for the citizenry.

There is no legal requirement for voters to justify how “urgent” or “important” is the “business” making it less desirable to vote on election day.

The complaints actually do sound like attempted intimidation of the early voters.

In places like Oregon, voting is done by mail in the 30 days before election day, when no one actually goes to the polls. Most or all other states also have various forms of early or absentee voting.