Fono due back on Monday
Following a three week mid-session recess, the Fono will reconvene on Monday and among the issues expected to be tackled are the newly appointed cabinet members of the Lolo Administration. While in the Senate, an additional issue will be reviewed— the more than $1 million in payouts to previous directors of the last administration.
Last month Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga appointed former senator Velega Savali Jr. as chief election officer; Lealao Melila Purcell as director of the Department of Agriculture; Catherine Dora Aigamaua-Saelua as director for the Office of Program Planning and Budget Development; and local businessman Tim Jones as director of the Territorial Energy Office.
Several lawmakers are hoping that the administration will submit for confirmation members of the LBJ Medical Center board (who are subject to Senate confirmation only), American Samoa Power Authority board (who at this point were appointed as interim board), and the ASG Employees Retirement Fund.
Prior to the mid session recess, several senators wanted to call hearings on LBJ and ASPA to discuss a wide-range of issues, but Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie had requested patience at this time and asked to give these boards time to carry out a thorough review of their respective operations.
Gaoteote also reminded senators that board members of the two entities have yet to come before the Fono for full confirmation and suggested that senators wait til after full confirmation before conducting thorough hearings on utilities and hospital services.
Samoa News understands that one of the issues to be taken up by the Senate after the recess is a committee hearing to review the just over $1 million in payouts for previous directors and contract employees as well as the previous governor and lieutenant governor.
Sen. Galeai Tu’ufuli had called for a hearing as well as obtaining all government financial records on the total expenditures spent on payouts and whether these payouts were budgeted in the FY 2013 budget.
Sen. Laolagi F.S. Vaeao, chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, sent a request to the Treasury Department prior to the Fono’s mid session recess and has received some of the information.
Samoa News understands that more information was provided to the Executive Branch during the recess and the rest is to be submitted to the Senate early next week.
During his Senate confirmation hearing in late January, ASG Treasurer Falema’o ‘Phil’ Pili was asked about the payouts and whether they were budgeted in FY 2013. Pili said total payouts came to $1.04 million and about $500,000 of the payouts were not included in the budget. Additionally, the extra half-a-million was borrowed from the second quarter budget allocation, he said.
THE NEW COMMENTS PROCESS
To make comments, you will need to register. You can register under your real name or use a 'screen' name. This way, people will be able to follow comments and make comments back and forth to each other. If you choose to use a 'screen name' no one will know your true identity. In either case, no email addresses will be available to anyone. It is an automated process. If you have questions, email: email@example.com
You currently are not logged in, please LOGIN to post comments.