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Governor reminds cabinet of policies: background checks, govt. vehicles

reporters@samoanews.com

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has removed two people from the governor’s office as a result of their background checks and this was announced during the cabinet meeting last week Friday.
 
Samoa News understands that one has been transferred to the Department of Health, while the other is now working for Vocational Rehabilitation.
 
The announcement came when the governor was telling the directors to have every new hire undergo the clearance process during the cabinet meeting held last week attended by media.
 
“New government hires are required to go through the clearance process,” he said. Lolo noted that almost every department has hired some new people and for those new hires, it’s a requirement that they go through the clearance process.
 
“If they pass — good, and if not, that’s tough luck because we recruit the best people that we can in every department. If you bring new people in, make sure you go through the clearance process,” he told the directors.
 
GOVERNMENT VEHICLES/ TINT /24-HOUR STICKERS
 
The new policies implemented by the Lolo administration regarding government vehicles was heavily emphasized during this cabinet meeting. Lolo instructed that all dark tints on government vehicles must be stripped. “We believe in a transparent government," he said, adding,"let the people see who drives those cars."
 
The government has instructed Acting Police Commissioner Leiseau Laumoli to enforce the new government vehicle policy already in place, because there are still some people who are not allowed to take government vehicles home, yet this is still happening.
 
“If the government car has no 24-hour sticker, impound it and let the Director deal with it, because the director must be in control of the staff," he said. 
 
“I’m asking DPS to enforce the law, and impound those vehiclesn— it doesn’t matter where they work or who they are, impound the vehicle and let the directors be responsible. Only directors are entitled to the privilege of taking their government cars home, not the Deputy Directors. The Director's job is 24hrs, otherwise everybody else should leave the government cars at the government lot,” he said.
 
The governor noted that if the government runs 500 vehicles a week and gives them $40 a week for gas, they are looking at spending $20,000 every week for fuel only, and this is unacceptable. He also said that there are government vehicles carrying private licenses and the directors have been instructed not to put gas in vehicles that carry private license plates.
 
Lt. Gov. Peleti Mauga clarified with the directors that 24-hour stickers are issued only to first responders — which include the Fire Bureau, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Medical Services.
 
“I have more than 50 requests on my desk for a 24-hour sticker, but I want to clarify that only first responders will get those stickers — and don’t use the first responder as an excuse, because only certain agencies are first responders.  
 
“You can drive in your car to work and then get into the government vehicle to carry out your first responding job, so please don’t use that 'first responder' again because it will not work,” he said.
 
Lemanu also noted that prohibiting smoking and eating inside government vehicles is something that should be considered because they are government properties.  
 
The directors have been instructed to turn in bi-weekly reports beginning in May, as a way for the governor and lt. governor to keep track what each department is working on, in terms of projects, training, etc.
 
Directors were also instructed to conduct clean-ups throughout their facilities. Lemanu also emphasized the importance of maintenance on all the government vehicles, equipment, etc. to sustain the resources the government owns.
 
The Lt. Governor further brought up during the meeting the use of personal email to conduct government business and the abuse of government phones with the two phone networks (Bluesky and ASTCA), and noted that they will follow up on these issues, saying that each director will be called in, if their staff members are not complying with the memos. 



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