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Increase in projects, workload highlights need for more engineers says head of DPW

fili@samoanews.com

With an increase in the number of projects, the Department of Public Works says there is a demand for "engineers" to ensure these projects are completed in a timely manner, according to Public Works' director Taeaotui Punaofo Tilei, in his agency's fiscal year 2011 fourth quarterly performance report.

The problem is the delay in processing documents of possible hirees, said the director, echoing a complaint the government has long faced, i.e. Department of Education teachers.

"There has been an increase in the workload for our engineers responsible for designing and implementing plans for the restructuring and rebuilding of roads, bridges and seawalls" damaged by the 2009 earthquake and tsunami, the report says.

Additionally, an increase in Public Works funding from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration has been secured to ensure these projects are completed.

"With that in mind, there is a current demand for engineers to ensure all design and construction project deadlines are met," said Taeaotui in the report. "There is also a very high demand for Architectural Engineers; there has been a significant increase in the need to design and manage many of our government infrastructures, which has increased the workload of our A & E division."

Public Works currently has a few Architects whose names have been submitted for hiring - but the process to bring in new employees "takes a very long time", in which case the department would like the Department of Human Resources "to possibly expedite" documents of these hirees as soon as possible, the report notes.

The report further states that due to the influx of projects Public Works has a current demand for skilled workers i.e. carpenters, plumbers, electricians and air condition specialists, to name a few.

"If we can fill more of these positions then there would be no strain on the timeline these projects needs to be completed by; also it would ensure jobs being created and be beneficial to our struggling economy," according to the report, which also states that these are the personnel impediments faced by Public Works.

Meanwhile, Public Works says budget for fuel consumption of the entire ASG fleet "is wanting".

"Increase in the number of vehicles, fluctuation of prices and the increase of transportation needs magnified this problem," said DPW, adding that stimulus money funded the upgrade to the Motor Pool - the ASG gas station - which is now a modern gas station. This new station avoids manual errors to better manage the distribution of fuel, says DPW.



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