CONFIRMATION HEARING NEXT WEEK FOR NEW IMMIGRATION BOARD MEMBER
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s nomination of Tuala Mike Sala as a new member of the ASG Immigration board was yesterday introduced in the Senate and assigned to the Senate Judicial Committee, whose chairman, Sen. Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono has set a confirmation hearing for this coming Tuesday at 7:30a.m.
Tuala, whose term will be for four-years, replaces Moatulu’i Sipili Fuiava, who resigned to take up a full time position in government, according to the governor in his nomination letter to the Fono leadership.
Lolo says he is “particularly pleased that Tuala...has accepted my nomination” to the board “given his extensive experience in law enforcement which involved immigration issues”. The governor is confident that Tuala will be an effective board member “as he is thoroughly familiar with all our immigration laws.”
According to the governor, the nominee retired with over 40-years of dedicated service in government, including his tenure as the first director of the local Department of Homeland Security and had served as deputy police commissioner.
Tuala’s nomination is expected to be introduced in the House soon.
OVERTIME FOR CUSTOMS AND IMMIGRATION QUESTIONED
Sen. Magalei Logovi’i has raised with Attorney General Afoa L.S. Lutu the issue of overtime pay for Customs and Immigration officers. Magalei said there are continued complaints from these employees about not getting overtime pay, which they are entitled to under the law, and the overtime is funded by money provided by the private sector such as the airlines.
(The law requires airlines to pay a certain amount of money for after hours work by the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine divisions of ASG).
Magalei raised the issue when Afoa appeared earlier this week for the FY 2014 budget of the Department of Legal Affairs. Magalei said that ASG Treasurer Dr. Falema’o ‘Phil’ M. Pili had told the budget committee that money had been set-aside to hire more employees.
Magalei asked Afoa if this is appropriate, to which the Attorney General answered that he had previously written to the Treasurer telling him to pay overtime to employees of Customs and Immigration. Afoa said he is surprised that these employees have not been paid overtime in accordance with the law, adding he does not want the government to end up in the same situation where the U.S. Labor Department issued a ruling due to the failure of ASG to pay overtime in the past.
According to the attorney general, he will again write to the Treasurer to pay these employees, who are due their overtime.
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