22 Sep 2010

CNMI agencies tell employees to get ready for government shutdown

1:25 pm on 22 September 2010

Public servants in the Northern Marianas have been told to brace themselves for a government shutdown because of the legislature's failure to pass a balanced budget before the fiscal year 2011.

There is just over a week to go before the next fiscal year begins on October the 1st.

Most of the CNMI's 4,000 government employees are now realising they face having no more pay from October the 1st or until a new budget is passed.

Our correspondent in Saipan, Mark Rabago, says there's ongoing division on how to curb costs, which are pegged to 232 million US dollars for the upcoming fiscal year.

"There's a lot of contentious proposals in the budget bill. One chamber of the House wants a 16 hour work cut for government employees. But the other, the senate wants only an 8 hour work cut. So they are still trying to find out what's the best solution for that. It still boils down to money."

Mark Rabago says employees in critical service agencies will be exempt from a government shutdown, such as police, fire and prisons.