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Dear Editor,

As a private citizen, there is no question in my mind that Ms. Stevensen is well qualified to be Development Bank President. Her qualifications speak for itself. Then, what went wrong at the Senate’s Confirmation Hearing where she was not confirmed?

With the Senate’s rejection, the public may never have the chance to benefit from her capable service and competency to provide for public value.

In his book, “Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government”, the famous Mark Moore of Harvard Kennedy School of Government wrote emphatically about ethical challenges of public leadership.

He says, “The public executive as moral leader show a ‘profile of courage’ in the face of either injustice or venality (corrupt bribery) even when these are allied with intimidating political power… We remind ourselves that political institutions are often vulnerable to the corruption of short-term particular interest and may have to be resisted by conscientious officials who take wide and long view of the public interest’.

I remember sitting in the classroom taking notes — listening to Professor Moore lecture about Public Value at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. 

Nominating Ms. Stevensen, a distinguished daughter of Samoa to be Development Bank President, is critical to public value and adds effective leadership to our local government.

This is the second time the Senate has rejected a well-qualified nominee. Dr. Jacinta Galeai, another distinguished daughter of Samoa, was also rejected. 

To explore the legitimacy of the ‘authorizing power’ of our Senate compared to modern democracy, the scale may tip a little. In our legislature, the House of Representatives, unlike the Senate, are accountable to the voters and respective constituents. The Senate however, is accountable to the distinguished pool of chiefs (matai) from respective Districts. With all due respect, is this form of government a true democracy?

With this current form of government, our people will never have a chance to enjoy the full benefit of public value and the true meaning of a democratic society. God bless American Samoa.


Tuifaleamato R.A. Tagovailoa