Office of Vet Affairs transferred to Gov's Office
The office of Veterans Affairs has been transferred under the governor’s office as of September 1, 2013. This was revealed in a letter sent to the Director of the VA Office, Taua’a Sam Vaouli, on the use of the VA building at the Tafuna Industrial Park, sent out from Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga.
According to the letter, the VA building was constructed to accommodate the needs of the Veterans of all branches of the US Armed Forces and was not intended to address the needs determined by one association or a group of Veterans. “Furthermore, the structure was to handle the activities and to render services to all the Veterans."
“This Facility is government owned and its use is therefore determined by the American Samoa Government. This building was not built to be leased to an association but constructed so that the government can provide the kinds of services demanded by the Veterans,” said the Governor. The letter also stated that the government is covering all of the operating costs for the VA building.
The administration and management of the VA complex is under the purview of the governor’s office and “it alone will determine the use of the facility and activities permitted for its utilization. “These activities must be for the benefit of the Veterans and any proceeds resulting from these activities will be utilized to supplement funding for the operation of this Facility.”
Activities hosted and accommodated in the VA facility must directly benefit the Veterans. Meetings of different veteran associations and organizations are considered legitimate use, however meeting dates and times must be registered and approved by Management to avoid schedule conflicts.
“One of the intended uses of the facility is to provide a venue to house recruiters when they visit American Samoa for convenience and accessibility. Activities which involve serving food and drinks, including alcohol, must comply with the internal procedures established by the Facility Management in consultation with all veterans.”
According to the letter, only the governor or acting governor possess the sole authority to waive any part of this policy or internal procedures once they have been approved and adopted.
Also, the Director for the VA office is empowered to enforce this policy and all addenda offshoot procedures approved by the governor on use of the VA facility. Deviation from strict enforcement of this policy will result in personnel disciplinary action which may include termination, stated the letter.
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