Guam – Good news for the CNMI’s more than 1,000 civil servants came when Gov. Benigno R. Fitial signed into law yesterday a budget bill that the Legislature passed late Friday night.
This comes after weeks of bitter deadlock that has led to a partial government shutdown that left some 1,400 government employees without work since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2011 on Oct. 1.
With the signing of the budget law, the 1,400 employees will be back to work tomorrow, joining their fellow public servants who were considered essential and therefore were allowed to work during a shutdown.
Today is Commonwealth Cultural Day, which the governor declared yesterday a paid holiday.
The budget law requires a 16-hour work cut per pay period and 13 unpaid holidays to live within the $132 million projected revenue available for government operations in FY 2011.
But in his message to the Legislature yesterday, Fitial raised several concerns that need be addressed, including increased funding for Tinian, Saipan, Northern Islands, and other programs and agencies at a time when government resources are limited.
He also line-item vetoed the subsidies for Rota charter flights.
Lawmakers, in separate interviews yesterday, lauded the governor for immediately signing the budget bill into law so that all employees can go back to work on Tuesday.