Dear Editor:

 If one thing is clear over the years it is the fact that the very foundation of the American Samoa Government's financial direction is based on four pillars: Mismanagement, fraud, waste, and abuse.

Now it's back to the hospital. An organization which has been in the "RED" since it became an Authority. For years the same scenario plays out, it's ASPA, it's HSS, it's PWD, it's the FONO. We need funds to make our next payroll, let alone provide the services we are supposed to provide. The FONO steps in to find a solution looking for non existent funds and when they rarely find an answer the Governor veto's the bill stating the funds were already obligated. Yes, every cent plus is obligated for personnel cost and FONO allowances, as per the Treasurer.

In the end as a result of mismanagement, fraud, waste, or abuse the needed revenue is taken from the people of this Territory through increased taxation, increased fees, increased rates for services,etc. How long can this go on? After 33 years of this approach our financial backs are breaking.

We are not responsible for the hospital missing a couple hundred thousand dollars from their collections operations or allowing non-residents 6.5 million dollars in credit care. We are not responsible for ASPA's claims of millions in debt nor are we responsible for ASG to do anything to protect its thousands of employees by letting their personnel costs exceed their local revenue. These are all prime examples of financial mismanagement and ASG, ASPA, or the hospital could raise our taxes, rates and fees a thousand percent and nothing would change. The government would just hire more people and continue down this same path.

The Governor could change this situation with common sense and logic.

His legacy would be assured for years to come if he took two steps:

Lay-off all non essential government employees. This would eliminate two to three thousand personnel. These cost savings would allow the government to pay its debts, meet its subsidy obligations, repair our roads and begin to right the ship.

Secondly, order immigration to send all illegal overstayers back to their homes of record. This step would lower our population by 10 to 15 thousand and end the imploding of our infrastructure.

Without drastic steps like these this situation can only get worse. Everyone who loves this Island deserves better than we're getting now.

Jim Brittle


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