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Jan 6, 2008

Aftermath of Reform

After the last week of scrambling to the Labor Department in San Antonio to beat the deadline before the PL 15-108 took effect, nonresident workers seemed to have met the deadline and hope to continue working here in the CNMI.

Some people have been asking the Middle Roaders what comes next after all the barrage and the march where they aggressively participated last month. Some say they can't bear the thought of seeing the grins of the local administration that blocks federalization of the immigration and labor system here. Some asked what would happen to their children when they are supposed to exit the islands after three years?

I have asked the nonresident workers' prominent lawyer about this and he said, "The present situation is 'a maze of mirrors and broken glass." This is like one of those paperweights that refracts light in all directions."

Will there be light at the end of the tunnel to these nonresident workers?

33 comments:

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Not everyone made the deadline.

rev said...

oh yeah. that's sad...

bradinthesand said...

when did you guys switch over to the dark side? i like the new look but it appears somewhat sinister now. kind of like a cowboy wearing a dark hat...

lil_hammerhead said...

Have faith.. have faith.

By the way, I love the new look! Chic.

rev said...

see brad, lil likes it...

hows hawaii sand?

bigsoxfan said...

Holy crap, I'm looking over my shoulder for Rod Serling. This afternoon, the bigsoxfan was wandering the side streets of Ulan Baatar, tonight he rounded the corner to find himself in the twilight zone of middle road.

Nice look, but I'll bet it will cost you comments. Not that you can't spare a few.

rev said...

lol. awww...'long as it's readable sox

Marianas Pride said...

Rev, loving the new look!

rev said...

thanks MP!

Tamara said...

The new layout is very cool! Now, I want to update mine : )

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Those about to have their employment contracts end in Dec or Jan met the 'deadline' for consentual transfer. All others will be meeting the new requirements of 15-108 for better or for worse.

I don't think having 'faith' is going to help. You might try a decent lawyer, however.

A black background is better and more chic than white? Why? Seems a little harder to read, less contrast. Well we all make choices don't we?

rev said...

;-)

Marianas Pride said...

Yes, Labor was crazy. Thank God I had someone go in place of me. The lines were longer than the grand opening of Taco Bell...

Gofigure! said...

They are not even abiding by some of the provisions of the new law. I know someone who submitted a labor bond for an employee today. The bond did not comply with the Rules and Regs for Approved security contract (Section 4924 of PL 15-108) but they accepted it anyway....

Anonymous said...

Tina Sablan along with all lawmakers make over $200k per year...That sounds like a really good deal. This will not last very long, the economy is tanking rapidly and will bottom out in about a year. The CNMI Gov't will be forced to cut it's salaries by at least 60%, just watch.

dekada lawyer said...

Lawmakers do not make over $200k per year. If they did, there would be more competition for seats and better candidates. Lawmakers get less than $40k per year, which is okay for a single, young, childless professional (Thank god for Tina!) but not if one has to support a family (and maybe a parent or two) and stay honest.

Saying that lawmakers make over $200k per year is about like saying Jim Benedetto makes over $1 million per year, or the Governor over $100 million.

As for the budget allocations to individual members of the legislature, those are intended to enable members to have competent staff to support their function and maintain a degree of independence from the Governor and the prevailing leadership in the respective houses.

Without resources, legislators have difficulty making independent judgments and acting autonomously. It takes money to hire professional staff, conduct research, operate an office, prepare documents, and so forth. Without access to tools and support, individual legislators are largely dependent upon the power structure, and that is not a prescription for good governance. To put it in economic terms, there is oligopolistic power-broker decision-making instead of a free market in public policy.

Certainly many legislators have wasted their budgets. But the problem is not structural (the amount of money), it is with the quality of the elected official spending the money.

The constitution expressly prohibits use of office allocations for "personal or political activities." The real problem is not the budgetary allocations for legislators, it is lack of tranparency and accountibility. The latter is not something that comes merely from the members themselves; it must be demanded by the public and enforced in the voting booth. For years it has not.

dekada lawyer said...

Wow! After the initial shock, I do like the crisp freshness of the new look. It is not very island, though, is it?

The old Middle Road had, well, some of the flavor of Middle Road . . . This, however, is a bit like a moonless night at Micro Beach.

Are you saying we are in a tunnel and no one can see any light at the end (or even has any idea where the end is) . . . to draw on a metaphor used in the remarks of a prominent CNMI business executive at his company's Christmas party.

That executive said he had a torch and would lead everyone through the tunnel. Hope Middle Road aspires to the same for the new year.

dekada lawyer said...

The heading of your post is "Aftermath of Reform." The first "aftermath" was the crowds trying to beat the consensual tranfer deadline. That now has disappeared solely because the deadline has past.

Both workers and business were struggling to met their needs before the blade of the guillotine fell. Many, however, simply did not have the concurrence of time and place necessary even to seize the opportunity to stand in line for this "benefit."

The real tsunami of aftermath is yet to come, as the impact of the new law, the inchoate regs, and the expedients of evolving Labor policy and practice begins to play out day to day.

Your question was very broad: "how's life now with the implementation of PL 15-108." The point of my response was that there is enoromous uncertainty from this so-called reform that further restrains the productive freedom of key economic actors -- workers and businesses -- while increasing the liberty (or license), not to mention power, of Labor department personnel, thus creating a nightmarish need for legal services that at this point is virtually impossible to prognosticate. It is the dark, formless demon that has yet to reveal itself.

Mark Hanson and Jim Benedetto did a good job of pointing out some of the specific negative effects that are to come. My complete response to your question is here.

rev said...

wow DL, that's a great response. really learning a lot from this blog.

about the dark ambience in this blog, well, we at Middle Road will have to change from time to time--from the blog to its posts here...so no worries, we will go back to the old template for sure.

should we tell these people to "hold on to their seats?"

dekada lawyer said...

I almost forgot one thing. Somebody will recommend I undergo a psychiatric evaluation if I keep agreeing with Bruce, but I have to here. People need a decent lawyer to protect their interests and deal with the coming problems.

Faith that the U.S. Congress will do what should be done is justified, but here too, decent lawyering and hard work are the necessary means to bring faith to fruition.

dekada lawyer said...

"Hold on to your seats" may be really sound advice. :-)

glend558 said...

Was it a coincidence your blog turned dark just as the new labor regs came into effect? Does this indicate that we are headed into a dark period...

rev said...

lol ;-) with the rate of the CUC is going, i guess Glend....

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Jim Benedetto makes 1 Milllllioooon dollars?

The Legislators are currently budgeted to make $60K for office expenses. The budget just passed by the house raises that to $155K, but the governor said he's going to veto it.

Marianas Pride said...

$155K? What kind of office expenses? Chandeliers? Gold-plated pens? An actual Kinko's in place of a copying machine? Interesting. Anyone want to open up an office and furniture outlet?

lil_hammerhead said...

That $155,000 per legislature is more than many much more worthy activities get. Each legislator should get but a little more than their salaries and should rely on the Legislative Bureau for all other matters. Answer their own phones, get cellphones, or buy answering machines and remove $80,000 from each of their budgets. Outrageous.

rev said...

what makes you think people that his office doesnt have expenses? ;-) perhaps there was a reason why it was raised that way.

;-)

James said...

No, I don't make a million dollars; but keep saying it! I like the sound of it . . . .

lil_hammerhead said...

Expenses are relative. Every office has expenses. The fact that one legislator has a budget as large as a significant government program is obscene.

Anonymous said...

lil_hammerhead,

The CNMI Gov't is way TOO big, and those justifying the over 100k expenses probably work for a lawmaker. Everybody knows this. Sadly, PSS, CHC etc hurt because these people need to employ relatives, friends and supporters. Almost all unqualified of course. Yes, even Tina Sablan has walked into a very, very profitable business. Think about it, a fairly easy win, a nice 100K salary and BAM, instant success! Would you turn down the same? Yes, it really isn't just 100k either, it's more in the ball park of 250k. How very sad. This will all end soon too, but as long as these people keep making $$$ it won't be for another 5 to 10 years.

lil_hammerhead said...

Well, their salaries are actually $38,000. I agree with you that this not only hurts activities that need these funds, but continues to maintain the status quo with regard to waste and corrupt behavior. I disagree with you regarding Ms. Tina Sablan.. if address these problems, win or lose, it is likely to be Ms. Sablan

lil_hammerhead said...

if "anyone will" address these problems..

sorry :)

Anonymous said...

Ask yourself this question: What do CNMI elected officials actually do? What do they accomplish individually and as whole? They make money.

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