Lolo resigns from DBAS to devote time to campaign
Lolo Letalu Matalasi Moliga has tendered his resignation as president of the Development Bank of American Samoa to “pursue another pathway” in his life “embracing my hope and continued commitment to be of service to our people.”
Lolo, a former Senate president, is a candidate for governor in the 2012 gubernatorial race along with his running mate and candidate for lieutenant governor, Sen. Lemanu Peleti Mauga, who is also a member of the DBAS board of directors. (Lemanu continues to be a board member)
In a May 23 letter to DBAS board chairman Malemo L. Tausaga, Lolo says that he is tendering his resignation as bank president effective June 30.
“While I feel I could do more for the bank, it would not bode well for the board for me to continue as president,” he wrote. “Moreover, it is my job to protect the integrity of the Development Bank... especially when it has been our collective goal not to expose the bank to public criticism due to my decision to seek the position of governor as the vehicle to continue and expand the effectiveness of my services to the people of American Samoa.”
Lolo also asked the board chairman “for full satisfaction of the pecuniary stipulations” of his contract and reimbursement for any accumulated annual leave and compensatory time accrued. He asked that the execution of these provisions be completed by June 30.
In his letter of resignation, Lolo offered recommendations to the BOD, as well as highlights of his tenure as DBAS president, and thanked his staff, BOD and the governor.
He said DBAS has not aggressively pursued all available housing programs administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“The impact of home construction on our economy has already been demonstrated. It behooves us to pursue all available federally funded home loan programs,” he said.
To maximize access of federal housing programs, Lolo recommends the board establish an American Samoa Housing Authority empowered to handle all home loan programs inclusive of the locally funded home loan activity.
He also recommended that DBAS “should champion the private sector expansion strategy by offering financing to locally owned businesses involved with the development of our fisheries, tourism, agriculture, indigenous manufacturing and secondary processing activities.”
For a new DBAS president, Lolo recommended Jason Betham, “given his many years in the vice presidency position and demonstration of competence to warrant your trust”and “has accumulated leadership and managerial skills that would guarantee his effectiveness as a leader.”
Moreover, Betham knows what needs to be done to assist the government and advance the accomplishments of its economic development goals, he said.
Lolo recommended Mrs. Iutita Galea’i as the new vice president based on her comprehensive experience in the banking business, along with her years of service at DBAS. “She has shown great skills as a leader and deserves the recognition and opportunity,” he added.
“The leader is as effective as the supporting staff. Our litany of successes would not have been possible had it not been the ingenuity, creativity, innovativeness and dedication of the staff,” said Lolo. “The successes therefore are the manifestations of staff competency and dedication.”
Lolo expressed his appreciation to the chairman and board for the “rare opportunity” of working with them and also thanked Gov. Togiola Tulafono “for the expression of trust which gave rise to my appointment to the post” as president of DBAS.
Copies of Lolo’s letter were sent to the governor, board members, Betham, Galeai, and DBAS staff.
Local law states that the Governor, with the approval of the Board, appoints a President of the Development Bank, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The President is responsible for the operation of the Bank with the assistance of such other officers and employees as the Board may authorize. The bank president is a nonvoting ex officio member of the 10-member board.
The last DBAS president, Utu Abe Malae resigned from his post in the spring of 2008 to be a candidate for governor in that year’s gubernatorial race.
The American Samoa Code Annotated (ASCA) Section 4.0102(f), states that candidates for the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor who are employees of the government in whatever capacity and for either the executive, or judicial branches, must resign their position with the government before commencing active campaigning.
“Active campaigning” includes but is not limited to: the acceptance of a petition from the election official charged with that responsibility; any effort whatsoever that is designed to influence or obtain votes from qualified electors; and any activity that would cause a conflict of interest at the candidate’s position of employment with the government. In any event, candidates must resign no later than 60 days prior to the election date even if the events above have not occurred.”