SENATOR SEEKS TO CONFIRM OTHER ASG BOARD MEMBERS
During the Senate session on Thursday, Sen. Laolagi F.S. Vaeao called on the Senate leadership to move on confirmation hearings for the rest of the board members of certain ASG boards that are still pending in the Senate.
He says these boards have forged ahead with their work but not all of their members have been confirmed by the Senate. For example, he said the Senate has not yet heard testimony from Isabel Hudson or Daniel King, the last two members of the American Samoa Power Authority board.
The two nominees were off-island during a Senate hearing earlier this year and their confirmation hearing is now set for Monday, Aug. 26. The pair have yet to go through a House confirmation hearing. Laolagi further pointed out that the Senate has also to schedule a confirmation hearing for Rev. Kalepo Vaitautolu, a board member of the ASG Scholarship Fund, who was off-island when the Senate held a confirmation hearing late last month for other board members.
Vaitautolu is already confirmed by the house. Laolagi also stated that Mrs. Fiapa’ipa’i Fruean, as a board member of the Development Bank of American Samoa still has her confirmation hearing pending. (On Thursday, the governor’s nomination of new board member Gi Malala was introduced in the Senate)
During Friday’s Senate session, Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie urged committees assigned confirmation hearings for board members to look at getting these hearings done. He says there is still time in the morning around 8a.m. to hold confirmation hearings while the joint budget sessions starts at 9:30a.m, beginning next Wednesday.
ASPA PROVIDES NEW GENERATOR FOR AUNUU, AS PROMISED
Representative Talaimatai Esera Su’a commends Utu Abe Malae and the ASPA crew for responding to the needs of the people of Aunu’u, pertaining to their electrical and water problems.
During the House regular session this past week the Aunu’u Rep said Aunu’u residents are overjoyed that since ASPA brought forth the new generator the electricity in Aunu’u is much more substantial compared to the past where outages reached up to five times in the evening.
The issue of outages in Aunu’u was always brought up by Rep Talaimatai during sessions and hearings with ASPA officials present. “On behalf of Aunu’u people, we thank you.... Utu and the ASPA crew,” said Talaimatai. He said this new generator will assist the two generators they already have in Aunu’u and if one generator is shut off, then this new generator will be turned on.
He further thanked Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga, Department of Public Works and McConnel Dowell for working together to fix the roads on the Eastern side. “If cars could speak, im sure they would be saying thanks for fixing the roads,” jokingly said Rep Talaimatai.
However, with regards to the relocation of the ASPA generators, Talaimatai said its uncertain as of now as to where in Aunu’u these generators will be relocated, given that families have to agree on installing the generators on their land. Currently, the generators are located next to the Aunu’u elementary school, which in previous hearings/sessions, the Aunu’u faipule raised concerns that this may be unsafe for students and staff.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD MEMBERS SUBMITTED FOR CONFIRMATION
The resolution calling for a confirmation on the governor’s appointment to the Economic Development Authority Board was introduced into the Fono this past week. The nominees are Treasurer, Falema’o Phil Pili, DOC Director Keniseli Lafaele, Governor’s Executive Assistant Iulogologo Pereira, ASPA CEO Utu Abe Malae, AG Afoa Moega Su’esu’e Lutu, Port Director Claire Tuia Poumele and Governor’s Legal Counsel Steven Watson.
According to the resolution which notes that part of the governor’s letter points out that reconstituting the America Samoa Economic Development Authority (ASEDA) while he looks to bonds as a revenue stream for major local projects that couldn’t be funded through ordinary government income sources.
The resolution pointed out that the governor also nominated members of the board and their terms in office: For four year terms, Falema’o and Commerce Director; for three year terms- Iulogologo and Utu Abe Malae; for two year terms- AG Afoa and Port Administration Director Taimalelagi and for the one year term- the Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel.
These individuals bring relevant experience to the board. For example, Utu, during his earlier tenure as ASPA executive director, was instrumental in floating the ASPA bonds that financed the power authority’s re-planting in the early 1990s. Likewise Afoa was deeply involved in the ASEDA’s 1988 bond issuance.
He noted that Pili has spent his entire career in government finance roles; while Lafaele has spent most of his professional career in the financial planning business; and Iulogologo is a former director of the Economic Development Planning Office — the predecessor agency of DOC — and is also a former Budget Office deputy director.
Taimalelagi is a former Education director and brings her administrative skills to the board with a passion for infrastructure development; and Watson — aside from his legal background — spent most of the last 20 years as a senior credit manager in the financial services sector.
Local law calls for seven board members, five appointed by the governor and one each appointed by the Senate President and the House Speaker. Terms in office for the pair from the Fono are valid during their tenure in office.
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