8 Jun 2006

The Northern Marianas government says contract employees the first to go

11:02 am on 8 June 2006

Contract employees will be the first to be laid off in the Northern Marianas as part of a government plan to reduce by 2 million US dollars the government's 16 million monthly expenses.

The government's Press Secretary, Charles Reyes Jr told the Marianas Variety that after cutting the number of contractual workers, the layoff plan will include civil service employees.

About 75 per cent of the Commonwealth's annual budget of 213 million US dollars goes to personnel cost.

The administration originally proposed to reduce the work hours of the government's more than 5,000 employees.

But the Legislature turned down the plan and instead offered to introduce legislation for a 10 per cent across-the-board wage reduction

The wage cut measures, however, remain pending in the Legislature.

Mr Reyes says the move is critical in the governor's efforts to reduce the Commonwealth's accumulated deficit which has ballooned to 155 million US dollars.

He says the number of government workers who will be laid off will be announced at a later date.