Internal clashes between Koror State government administrative staff and State legislators are boiling to the surface after nearly four years of Gibbons Administration.
“I just can’t take this anymore,” stated Legislator Vierra Toribiong, of what he said to be weak, non-transparent and personality-based operation of the state government.
Legislator Toribiong alleges that operations of Koror State administration are run based on Governor Gibbons Chief of Staff’s feelings and decisions and the service delivery are not provided fairly to all Koror citizens.
A copy of transcript of the Koror State Legislature’s JGA oversight hearing revealed the depth of the conflict between the legislators and administration, particularly the Chief of Staff Joleen Ngoriakl and some of the legislators.
In the report, the legislators questioned the COS Ngoriakl’s use of the Koror State public work employees to construct her family’s house in Nandeng, Ngerkesoaol during government working hours. Ms. Ngoriakl defended herself, saying that she had requested the assistance just like any Koror State citizen and was approved by the Governor. Furthermore, she said she had paid for all the materials and that Koror State resources were not used.
She cited requests that legislators have made for use of State resources that were approved, saying her case is not unique.
Koror State Governor Gibbons said that due to COVID pandemic and limited projects for public work employees, he had approved the request.
Other legislators said that they were not aware that Koror State was providing this service and that many of their constituents were in dire need of this service if it was available and should have fair access to it as well.
“Thank you, Chief of Staff for clarifying …it has been made clear that this is also a service that the state offers to the community. There are many residents of Medalaii who are in dire need of assistance to their homes,” stated Legislator Akiwo. She said she will be coming to Public Works Director with her requests for her constituents.
Other legislators say that the requests that they’ve made in the past have been to help their constituents such as improving access to residents’ homes or bringing portable toilets to events upon request.
During the oversight, Speaker Marbou and Governor Gibbons sought to calm the tensions by raising and resolving concerns between the legislators and staff. Speaker Alan Marbou said that lack of communication between them is causing a lot of problems and called for more active communications between them.
But Legislator Toribiong said that tensions continue to escalate due to recent actions from COS Ngoriakl. Citing as an example, he said requests were made last week to Governor Gibbons for use of boat and trucks to support Mindzenty Catholic School Week activities and were approved by Governor Gibbons but overrode by his Chief of Staff Joleen Ngoriakl.
“We know that we are in financially difficult times and so had agreed to share costs. We had requested for the use of the boat and the staff from the Koror State Cultural Division to go with students to the Rock Islands to teach them about the culture and history of Koror State as it relates to the Rock Islands. Other legislators, sponsors and myself provided the fuel and ice and drinks. The day before the kids were supposed to leave, we were told that COS had said we can’t use the boats. Fortunately, the Director of Conservation and Law Enforcement followed with Governor’s instructions,” expressed Toribiong.
Furthermore, he added that the Public Work truck that was approved by Governor to be used by the Mindzenty students to pick up a pig for the cultural training was withheld based on COS Ngoriakl’s instruction. “We had to rush around last minute to secure the truck. We were going to pay for the fuel, we only requested the use of the flatbed truck,” he added.
Chief of Staff Joleen Ngoriakl in response to these allegations said that all of these were just personal attacks because she had been advising Governor against their “unconstitutional bills” and “overstepping of separation of powers.”
She added that they had cut her department budget and “try to run the operations.” She said there’s “much bullying and gender bias” going on that it became personal.
Furthermore, she said, “they don’t understand the basic set up of a democratic government with clear separation of power and checks and balances.” She said that standing up to them is the reason that they “are fixated on bringing me down.”
In response, Legislator Toribiong denied that there was anything personal in their budget cuts. “We are in a COVID situation. We also have never been able to receive any information we requested on the submitted budgets for the last 4 years! Every year they submit the budget really late and when we request for information, we don’t get any and have to pass the budget because of time limitation. Example, this 2021 budget, they submitted the budget like 4 days before Christmas and the fiscal year ended on December 31st.” Koror State Government fiscal year is on a calendar year and its annual budget expires on December 31st as oppose to national government whose budget expires on September 30th.
It is not expected that that the internal tensions will go away soon, rather they may be further escalated by election politics going into the State’s general election in November.

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1 Comment

  1. I look forwards to the next KSG election in Nov 2021 and whether it will Yosi Adachi or Eyos Rudimech who will be seated doesn’t matter to me because I know for sure that we will resume a much sought system that has been absent for these last four years.

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