SAIPAN - The appointment of former Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services Commissioner Clyde K. Norita as CNMI census office manager is not a sole-source contract, the Torres administration told reporters on Tuesday.

In hiring Norita on July 22, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said he and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios “are confident in your leadership to ensure that Commonwealth households are invited to participate and are made aware of the importance of the 2020 Census.”

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts census every 10 years.

Asked about the copy of Norita’s sole-source contract amounting to over $137,000 that was obtained by Variety, the administration said it had been rescinded.

On Tuesday, Norita and Central Statistics Division Director Justin Andrew made a PowerPoint presentation in the governor’s conference room on to explain the decennial census.

Andrew said the contract between the CNMI government and the U.S. Census Bureau allows the governor to appoint an office manager.

Press Secretary Kevin Bautista, in an email, said the appointment of Norita was done through a process similar to then-Gov. Benigno Fitial’s appointment of John Borja for the 2010 Census.

Like Borja’s, the appointment of Norita is an employment contract under the Office of Personnel Management, and not a sole-sourced procurement contract, Bautista added.

Norita, for his part, said: “I came back as a government employee. I am appointed. There is no sole-source contract.”

By October, Norita said his office will hire 48 staffers and 13 managerial team members. This will be followed by the hiring of 564 people, including 178 enumerators, for part-time jobs. A job fair will be conducted to hire these workers, Norita added.

He said a public outreach will be conducted by January 2020, and the field enumeration should begin by February 2020. It should be completed on June 30, 2020, he added.

The data will be shipped to the nation’s capital on July 30, 2020 and the CNMI Census Office closes on Sept. 30, 2020.

The 2020 Census is 100% federally funded, Norita said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “The results of the census determine your congressional representation as well as federal funding for states and communities. Every year, more than $675 billion goes toward hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and more. It’s also mandated by the Constitution. The United States has counted its population every 10 years since 1790.”