The Treasury Department last week granted the Commonwealth Ports Authority Board’s motion to waive CPA’s $2.4 million Office of Public Auditor 1% fee, allowing CPA to pay each of its employees a one-time lump sum of $1,200 – Dollar can grant. “Discretionary Fee” or bonus.
At an emergency meeting Friday, the CPA Board of Directors unanimously approved CPA Resolution 22-01, which grants the autonomous agency’s 200 employees a total of $258,361 in voluntary compensation. Of the total, $228,649 will go to 177 airport workers and $29,712 to 23 seaport workers.
CPA Board Chair Kimberlyn King-Hinds said this voluntary compensation, which is a one-time bonus, replaces the within-class increase that CPA management had requested, but “because we are not on one point at which sufficient income is generated”, the board did not approve this.
Treasury Secretary David DLG Atalig wrote to CPA Executive Director Christopher Tenorio on Tuesday that the Treasury Department had approved the CPA’s request to waive the 1% OPA fee of $2,425,277.58.
Atalig said Finance complied with Public Law 22-18 exempting the CPA from paying the 1% fee; the federal mandate that the CPA maintain its Grant Assurance for the Airport Improvement Program to prevent illegal revenue diversion; and the “poor financial position in which CPA currently finds itself, exacerbated by the continued closure of all ports of entry caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in an unprecedented loss of airport revenue”.
Atalig said he accepted and approved CPA’s request “given … compelling reasons and justifications and the need for CPA to remain financially stable”.
Board members said CPA’s “hardworking employees” deserved a bonus.
King-Hinds said, “As we all know, there are many employees these days who haven’t seen their very well-deserved raise in many years.”
She said the one-time bonus is one of the ways the CPA board can show commitment to all of its employees.
“We wish we could do more, but this [bonus] is [the only thing] we can afford that now,” she added.
She said the Treasury Secretary’s waiver will also allow CPA to complete much-needed runway repairs at Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport.
CPA Board Member Joseph Diaz thanked CPA staff for their patience and understanding.
Board Member Barrie Toves said he was “very pleased that CPA has not had to implement austerity measures even during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic because we value the contribution of each and every CPA employee from top to bottom. We’re all in this together. We’re the frontliners.”
Board member Pete P. Reyes said the bonus “is a little boost for really good people – we want to try to keep them from leaving us.”
Board member Ramon Tebuteb thanked King-Hinds for their leadership and the CPA staff for their “sacrifice” during the Covid-19 pandemic. The bonus, he added, is “a small step” as the board continues to find ways to give employees what they deserve.