Sometimes I'm a silver-lining sort of person, and those clouds are positively shining this morning.
How can that be? Just today, the Saipan Tribune has articles about delaying public school openings, hiring alien workers and not telling customers where to spend their money when the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation is missing in action.
I think we had a record Friday: every story on the Saipan Tribune front page was about CUC; I counted six in the paper. The Marianas Variety went one better with seven stories.
And this is good how? Well, one of the reasons I quit reporting is that it seemed like I kicked some rock or steaming fecal pile every week. I'd take some flak from those affected, get a few pats on the back and everyone would run around shouting and doing their Chicken Little impersonation. Nothing was done and there was always something new to kick. I felt like the Stanley Torres of print and airwaves.
Inevitably, some of those stories were about CUC-- or Public Works before CUC was made autonomous to avoid political interference....
Have we got your attention yet?
Only a few tories are saying 'realistically', 'you don't understand' or 'that's just the way it is' anymore; the bugs that scurry when next week's rock is turned over are all chittering "CUC". Short attention spans don't offer the usual solace.
I hope the Lieutenant Governor is innocent (as opposed to being found not guilty--they're not the same thing), but the federal charges have sure got some people's attention. That's not my call, let a jury decide. I would recommend that his lawyers try to get a trial on Rota or Tinian instead of Saipan; the Palace of Justice can't afford to run its generators during power outages. Talk about prejudicial.
Every company has a culture. CUC's has been self-interest as opposed to public interest, sole-source contracts and payoffs both large and trivial. Nepotism and favoritism were uncontrolled.
The current spotlight (when the power is on) can only be a good thing. No contract will slip through unexamined, and those responsible know it. The Legislature can't 'table' this issue. The Governor may be ruling by fiat, but thousands of people are watching to see whether the Emperor has clothes.
Is that a light I see at the end of this tunnel? Maybe we'll actually get privatization with rational and more efficient management. It's been promised before, but Executive Director Tony Muna says he'll be training local workers while the alien workers bail out CUC's sinking boat. Those workers may come from a manpower agency, but, sorry Felipe, the contract will be scrutinized inside and outside of the government.
Muna has even warned workers about the the appearance of skulduggery. According to the Saipan Tribune "Commonwealth Utilities Corp. employees should not be telling landlords and the general public where and how they should buy backup supplies, such as extra water, to deal with power outages, said CUC executive director Antonio Muña."
Just something for Greg Cruz to nosh on while he's looking for another hearty meal to get his teeth into, but why do we still have so many defective photovoltaic cells? I'm told that some of those do-hickeys that are supposed to turn off streetlights during the day were defective when they were purchased. If true, why wouldn't they have been returned to the supplier?