Lolo nudges directors to use their influence with Fono
Cabinet directors with influence on lawmakers and others in the Fono have been asked by Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga to assist in getting director-nominees and board-member nominees to be confirmed by both the Senate and House.
The governor also warned directors that he will not approve any off island travel for directors who must be on island during Fono budget hearings, which begin next week Wednesday.
These are just some of the issues the governor raised with directors during yesterday’s cabinet meeting. Lolo told directors that the Fono is back in session and there are several appointments pending for directorship as well as boards and commissions.
“If you have influence on your faipule, or any of those people in the Fono we suggest that you utilize that to impress upon them that we do not just pick people for commissions, directorships and in boards,” he told directors. “We select the best people that we can find and we put the people that we can trust in [those] jobs.
For those who will soon go through the confirmation process, Lolo suggested to “just answer simple questions, unless you’re asked to explain, then you explain. But many times, you have to make sure, you respond correctly, to the Fono.”
The Fono “is one branch of government where many times, they don’t have rules. That’s why they have House rules and Senate rules - they can change them any time. So, if they don’t like the way you comb your hair, tough luck, you'll have a hard time,” said Lolo to giggles from the cabinet.
And “when they praise you and those things, you better think twice of what they are doing,” he said to laughter from the cabinet.
Lolo also told directors that some of them are planning to go off island during the time of budget hearings. “I have made a promise to the [Fono] leadership that directors will show up for budget hearings. If you don’t show up, they will not review your budget,” he said.
Lolo says there are at least two or three directors looking at being off island and he will not sign a government TA for them to travel. “You have to report to the Fono for your budget hearing,” he said adding the Fono will not review that director’s budget if the director does not show up.
That means the Fono can do what ever they want with that director’s budget, he said.
“And when those numbers are crossed [out by the Fono], I cannot restore any of those numbers. So I think you should prepare to go there and explain, justify every dollar that’s in the budget,” he said. “Ever dollar in that budget is well justified. So it’s your responsibility to make sure you go there and explain..what’s in your budget.”
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