HR director Le'i implements rollback on unbudgeted pay
“If it’s not in the budget it's a roll back in salary for government employees,” said Le’i Sonny Thompson, Director of Human Resources during the cabinet meeting last week, where the media was invited for the first time.
The HR Director confirmed that close to 100 government employees received a roll back in salaries in the last pay period, because the salary increases had not been budgeted for FY 2013. The highest salary rollback was for $11,000 for a Training Commander with the Department of Public Safety.
Last week Le’i sent a letter to government agencies and departments which was obtained by Samoa News where he informed directors that — in accordance with the general memorandum regarding cost containment measures — personnel actions submitted on existing positions without approved funding would be suspended and the salaries rolled back.
“All personnel actions which include new hires, reclassifications, and promotions, all service contracts irrespective of type which were implemented in the last six months but not incorporated or supported by the approved budget for the current and previous fiscal year will be rescinded, forthwith reversion to the original status prior to the executed personnel action."
Also, those personnel actions submitted on existing positions without approved funding will be suspended and documents returned to you until further notice, says the letter.
Samoa News understands employees from various departments, including DPS, Port Administration, Human Resources, Homeland Security, Department of Commerce and the Department of Education are affected.
During the cabinet meeting, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga noted that as part of the solution to the shortfall in terms of money, he has assigned directors of the departments of Treasury, Budget and Human Resources, to work on the process to roll back personnel actions that were conducted during the last months of the campaign season.
“I have them looking into this issue, and if it’s not in compliance with the law, we will have to roll back the salary. We cannot violate the law by [using] a higher salary that is not budgeted,” he said.
The governor noted "a couple of salaries increased from $28,000 to $38,000 in DPS and yet nothing was budgeted into FY 2013 and therefore, it’s a roll back."
He explained, “It’s only fair — because this hurts people in that department, it also hurts the government — and the right thing to do is to roll it back, because it’s against the law."
Lolo urged the cabinet directors to look out for issues such as these.
OTHER HR ISSUES
Governor Lolo informed the directors that another major issue they are facing is that of contract workers being converted to career service. “I have asked the Human Resources department not to do this. If someone is working and paid for by a grant, then upon completion of that grant, they will not be converted to career service.
“If this happens, we are building a career force where 90% of the budget is personnel cost, and we cannot serve the people by doing that. Please don’t ask us to approve any conversion because it will not happen — if the grant is finished, then that person working for that grant is done with the government as well,” he said.