FSM SUPREME COURT
Cite as Gouland v. Joseph,
5 FSM Intrm. 263 (Chk. 1992)
[5 FSM Intrm. 263]
SASAO H. GOULAND, in his offi cial
capacity as Governor of Chuuk State,
IHLEN JOSEPH, in his official capacity
as Acting Secretary of the FSM
Finance Department and KLASDIN LIHPAI,
in his official capacity as the Acting Dir.
of the FSM Budget Office,
IRA AKAPITO, in his official capacity as
President of the Chuuk State Senate,
and KISANDE SOS, in his official capacity
as Speaker of the Chuuk StateHouse of Representatives,
CIVIL CASE NO. 1991-1017
ORDER GRANTING MOTION
Richard H. Benson
FSM Supreme Court
For the Plaintiff: Madelein Austin
Chuuk State Attorney General
Weno, Chuuk FM 96942
For Defendant FSM: Camillo Noket
FSM Attorney General
Palikir, Pohnpei FM 96941
For Defendant Chuuk: Wesley Simina
Chuuk State Legislature
Weno, Chuuk FM 96942
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Statutes; Federalism-National/State Power
Under national law, the governor of a state is the allottee for all Compact of Free Association funds unless he delegates in writing his right to be allottee, so where a state statute allots such funds to the legislative branch without written delegation from the governor, the statute violates national law. Gouland v. Joseph, 5 FSM Intrm. 263, 265 (Chk. 1992).
* * * *
RICHARD H. BENSON, Associate Justice:
This matter came before me for oral argument on October 24, 1991 on the motion of the plaintiff for an order granting summary judgment pursuant to FSM Civ. R. 56.
There is no genuine issue as to any material fact. I find that the plaintiff is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.
In overriding the Governor's veto, the Chuuk State Legislature enacted Chuuk State Law No. 191-07. The plaintiff contends that the law violates the Chuuk State Constitution, the Compact of Free Association, and national law.
Chuuk State Law No. 191-07 provides for the appropriation of $3 million of state development funds which the FSM had received from the United States pursuant to the Compact. The law makes the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives the allottees of the appropriation.
The state law divides the $3 million equally among the five senatorial regions, and divides each senatorial region's share equally among the Senators and Representatives from that region. Section 2 of CSL No. 191-07 provides in part:
The Senators and Representatives shall designate and assign CIP development projects to their respective senatorial regions and representative districts. The Senators and the Representatives shall each be responsible for the management and proper use of the amount allocated to each of them.
On September 3, 1991, the Senate President and House Speaker signed Legislative Directive No. 91-2 setting forth the procedures for the Legislature's obligation and expenditure of the $3 million CIP fund.
The plaintiff's first cause of action is that the subject law violates the provisions of the Chuuk Constitution which provides for a separation of
powers between the executive and legislative branches, and which states in article VIII, section 2 that "no person may be an allottee of public funds except pursuant to an executive capacity."
Although urged to do so by the plaintiff, I will not decide the state constitutional issues. Instead, I accept the invitation of the Chuuk State Legislature to "decide the National law...issues independently of any allegations of violations of the State Constitution." (P.2 of the Motion to Dismiss and Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the Chuuk Legislative Counsel). The case can be decided on other grounds, and it is proper to avoid unnecessary constitutional adjudication. FSM v. Edward, 3 FSM Intrm. 224, 230 (Pon. 1987).
The plaintiff's second cause of action asserts that CSL 191-07 section 1(c)(9) violates the Compact and the national law.
The national law involved in this action is codified at Chapter 3 of Title 55 of the Code of the Federated States of Micronesia, and is entitled, "Internal Budget and Finance Procedures Under the Compact of Free Association." The source of this chapter is the Agreement on Internal Budget and Finance Procedures under the Compact of Free Association "which was executed by the Governors of the four states of the FSM and the President of the FSM on October 12, 1984." SCREP No. 4-167, J. of 4th Cong., 3rd Spec. Sess. 195 (1986). The agreement was the result of the efforts of the states and the national government to formulate a set of procedures which would be agreeable to all parties. "It was recognized that the FSM's constitutional form of government and overall policies dictated that the State governments and National Government would each have the right to expend its dedicated Compact financial assistance, in accordance with its own laws...and priorities." Id. at 196. The agreement was enacted into law as Public Law 4-77 and became effective on the effective date of the Compact, November 3, 1986.
55 F.S.M.C. 312(3)(b) states, "The Governor of a State shall be the allottee of all Compact funds allotted to the State under this chapter for subsequent allotment in accordance with State law." In addition, section 333 permits the Governor to delegate his right to be allottee. Such delegation must be in writing. Accordingly, because Section 2 of CSL No. 191-07 allots the $3 million appropriated in Section 1(c)(9) to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Governor has not delegated in writing his authority, I find a violation of 55 F.S.M.C. 312(3)(b).
The national law having not been followed, the motion for summary judgment must be granted.