Another appointee to the position of acting director of the Bureau of Public Safety was declined by Minister of Justice and Vice President Uduch Sengebau-Senior.
While out of the country, BPS Director Cary Levitre appointed a new acting director of the Bureau of Public Safety, Chief of Patrol Favian Ngiramengior, to replace Deputy Director Richard Ngiratrang as acting director. The appointment memorandum was issued on August 11, 2023.
Vice President and Minister Uduch Sengebau-Senior appointed Deputy Director Richard Ngiratrang to replace Valerie Ikesakes, Levitre’s first acting director appointee. According to Minister Sengebau-Senior, Ms. Ikesakes did not meet BPS Regulations that require an acting director to be a police officer with a minimum rank of sergeant.
Minister of Justice Sengebau-Senior rejected the appointment of Chief Ngiramengior in a memo to Director Levitre yesterday, August 14, 2023. In the memo, she cited the “significant workload” faced by the Division of Patrol as a result of “severe staffing shortages.”
“It has come to my notice that Chief Ngiramengior is already facing a significant workload due to his existing responsibilities within the Division of Patrol. Moreover, it has been highlighted that the Division of Patrol is currently operating under severe staffing shortages, resulting in an overworked team struggling to fulfill its duties effectively. This situation has raised concerns about the division‘s ability to maintain public safety and deliver the necessary services to the community,” Minister Uduch Sengebau-Senior said in her memorandum to Mr. Levitre.
Further, she said that giving Chief Ngiramengior additional responsibilities “could potentially compromise both the Division of Patrol’s operational efficiency and the Bureau’s overall performance. In light of these circumstances, I hereby rescind the appointment of Chief Ngiramengior as Acting Director during Director Levitre’s absence.”
Under the Bureau of Public Safety Rules and Regulations, the Minister of Justice approves appointments of the Acting Director.
The appointment of Chief Ngiramengior as BPS acting director would be the fifth (5) appointment of BPS acting director since March of this year. When former director Ishmael Aquon was removed, Minister of Justice Uduch Sengebau-Senior, Attorney General Ernestine Rengiil, BPS Administrative Officer Valerie Ikesakes, Deputy Director Richard Ngiratrang and now Chief of Patrol Favian Ngiramengior, all have born the title, some on paper and others for few weeks.
An acting director is appointed in the absence of the Director of Public Safety. BPS Director Cary Levitre is reportedly in the United States for medical reasons and is expected to return on August 30, 2023.
Palau laws say that the President appoints an acting director of Public Safety in case of “death, incapacity or prolonged absence of the Director.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Justice and Vice President Uduch Sengebau-Senior and Acting Director Richard Ngiratrang will testify at an oversight hearing with Senate JGA Committee today, August 15, 2023.