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CNMI Census jobs cushion austerity impact on 300 employees

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THE federally funded CNMI Census 2020 office has provided part-time jobs to over 300 government and private sector employees who are affected by work-hour cuts and other austerity measures that are being implemented amid the decline in tourist arrivals.

In an interview on Thursday, CNMI Census office manager Claudio Norita said they have a total of 311 individuals, including 184 enumerators and 60 other field workers, performing part-time jobs.

He said these are government and private sector employees, and even local residents who previously did not have jobs.

The census is expected to be completed by May 30.

Norita said the hiring of the part-time workers started several months prior to the austerity cuts imposed on government and private sector employees.

He said his office has hired teachers as well as employees of the executive branch, the Legislature, the judiciary, and even from autonomous agencies such as the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., the Commonwealth Ports Authority, the Public School System, and the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.

Census 2020 is 100% federally funded, and is thus exempted from the CNMI austerity cuts.

“When this census contract with the U.S. Census Bureau was signed back in December, we never knew that there was going to be austerity, we never knew that there was going to be a coronavirus outbreak. But the timing of the contract is right in a sense,” Norita said.

Kioshi Cody is one of the government employees who is performing part-time work for Census 2020. He said “it definitely supplements” his salary that was reduced due to austerity measure.

“At least we are still able to contribute to the economy as much as we can in terms of spending dollars on the island. We’re just going to weather it out and then just keep doing what we do,” he said.

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