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Commentary: A win-win-win-win idea

This is a short column, because the idea is so simple.

The Fono should pass a “Whistleblower Law” that provides incentives for citizens to alert the authorities regarding waste, fraud and abuse in the American Samoa Government.

Under such a law, if someone observes waste, fraud and abuse, they report it to a special person (such as an Ombudsman, independent prosecutor’s office, or Consumer Protection agency). The report is then investigated and a monetary reward is provided to the whistleblower based on the monies that were saved, recovered or earned as a result of their report.

Such a law would also protect the person filing the report from reprisal, such as efforts to remove them from their job.

Our whistleblower law could also include a “good idea” provision that created a cash reward program for good ideas that lead to saving government money.

For example, I might submit a “good idea” that the Lt. Governor’s house should be converted to use as offices for the Visitor’s Bureau and National Park. That would save a lot of money (and further the tourism cause), since those agencies are located in inappropriate second story offices and paying rent to private owners while the ideally located Lt. Governor’s house sits empty.

(Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think the Lt. Governor warrants a government-supplied executive residence. With no disrespect to Lt. Governor Lemanu.)

Suppose $100,000 a year is saved. ASG could give me half of one year’s savings and keep the rest of the savings to provide effective tutoring to young people who want to enter the military but can’t pass the ASVAB exam.

More locals in the military sending their income taxes here under the “cover over” program would make ASG a lot of revenue, and ASG could then share some of that increased revenue with me, which would result in me paying more taxes, which ASG could use to fix the potholes near my house, so that my good idea benefited everyone on the east side.

It’s not win-win. 

It’s win-win-win-win.



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