Speaker turns down Vice Speaker’s call for emergency session on Yona mayor bill

Speaker Tina Muna Barnes

Speaker Tina Muna Barnes has turned down Vice Speaker Telena Nelson’s request for an emergency session today to consider her bill to recall Yona Mayor Jesse Blas who is facing federal extortion and bribery allegations.

In her letter to the Speaker, Sen. Nelson reiterated the special circumstances that have created an administrative and leadership void in Yona, leading some village residents to seek guidance from lawmakers on how to move forward with a recall election.

According to Nelson, dozens of residents have expressed fears and concerns that the absence of the mayor may precipitate threats to public safety and community welfare.

However, in a response letter to Nelson, the Speaker disagreed, writing that “there is no immediate threat to life and health in Yona and therefore “I am unable to waive the open government law” and call an emergency session.

The Speaker said Nelson’s bill can be addressed during the regularly scheduled January session coming up at the end of the month.

Emergency Session Friday?

The Speaker is leaving for a family funeral in Saipan this afternoon which means that Vice Speaker Nelson will become Acting Speaker and she will then have the authority to call the emergency session in the absence of Sen. Barnes.

When asked about the possibility of an emergency session being called Friday, Sen. Nelson’s spokesman, Tihu Lujan, said there has been “no decision at this moment.

“The Vice Speaker is still contemplating the will of the community,” he said.