New Majuro Mayor Ladie Jack took up the reins of government at MALGov headquarters this week, following a swearing in with his executive council members by Chief Justice Carl Ingram at the High Court Tuesday.
Jack said a formal inauguration and swearing in ceremony for the entire council will be held late the first week of January following the seating of the new Nitijela January 4.
He has named the following council members to his executive council: Rita Councilman Arlington Tibon, Finance; Aenkan Councilwoman Betty Tibon-Imaikta, Health, Education and Social Affairs; Woja Councilman Randy Jack, Parks and Recreation; Rairok Councilman Jasper Lanki, Sports; and Delap Councilman Austen Jurelang, Justice.
“My main goal is to get an accountability system in place so that we can perform as a government,” Jack said Tuesday.
In response to his request to begin audit preparations at MALGov, the RMI Auditor General Junior Patrick dispatched a team from his office to check MALGov records last week while the previous administration was still in office. After a brief inspection, the audit team informed MALGov officials they would return the following day for more detailed work. When they returned the next day, the main computer servers, other computers and documents were missing, Jack said.
“I’m captain of a ship with no compass or GPS,” Jack said. “My campaign platform was for MALGov to be transparent and accountable to the people.” He said one of his top priorities is to get MALGov audited and then continue annual audits as is the practice for government offices.
Jack also said he was meeting with the Attorney General’s office Wednesday this week to discuss legal recourse to gain return of MALGov assets, including numerous recent vintage vehicles that he says the former local government executive sold to themselves and MALGov officials for 25 percent of original cost paid for by government money. “I am meeting with the Attorney General to discuss recovering local government assets,” he said. “They were taken illegally.”
Former Majuro Mayor Mudge Samuel disputes new Mayor Ladie Jack’s contention that what he and the previous MALGov Council did with vehicles and assets of the local government was illegal. “Everything in my time is legal,” he said Wednesday when asked about sale or donation of vehicles in the past few weeks. “All the things we sold were approved by executive minute.”
Samuel said bluntly about Jack’s statements: “What he thinks is not what I think.”
In addition to the newly sworn in executive council members, the Majuro council includes the following line up as confirmed by the Electoral Administration: Jouban Kabua (Iolap), Jina David (Jeirok), Jimmy Ceasar (Lobat), Lina Bohanny Amsa (Lomar), Boaz Lamdrik (Ajeltake), Stacy Samuel (Delap), Bilimon Sonny Milne (Uliga), Charles Kelen (Rita).
Read more about this in the December 25, 2015 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.