Getting paid way too much

Gov. Ralph Torres

Legitimacy of CNMI officials' huge pay raises challenged in court

Saipan --- The CNMI Office of the Attorney General is challenging the legitimacy of Public Law 19-83, filing a lawsuit against the legislative measure that gives local elected officials a huge pay raises.

PL 19-83 gives the governor an annual salary of $120,000 from $70,000 and the lieutenant governor $100,000 from $60,000. Lawmakers had the highest jump of more than 60 percent from $39,300 to $70,000. The four municipal mayors --- Saipan, Tinian, Rota, and the Northern Islands --- would get $75,000 from $43,200 according to PL 19-83 but it is not clear if the implementation of their new pay grade would also be stopped.

It was the first pay hike for CNMI officials in 20 years, but the OAG deems it unconstitutional for two reasons: first, the new salary grade was based on the recommendation of an Advisory Commission that was not validly constituted; and second,