SENATE TO LOOK INTO DOE MOVE TO HIRE TEACHERS FROM SAMOA
The Senate Education/Scholarship Committee chairman Sen. Fauimuina Tagisiaali’i says he plans to contact the Education Department director Vaitinasa Dr. Salu Hunkin-Finau over the DOE plan to recruit teachers from neighboring Samoa.
Speaking at yesterday’s Senate session, Faumuina said this planned recruitment from Samoa was reported by the newspaper and he has received messages of concern regarding this plan.
He said he has three main concerns with such recruitment: Who will be the teachers’ sponsors? Is there funding allocated for hiring from Samoa? Do these teachers — from a foreign country — meet qualifications to teach in American Samoa?
Sen. Tuiasina S. Esera said there are local graduates with Bachelor and Masters’ degrees, even doctorates in education who need to be employed, and he does not understand why DOE is looking at Samoa.
Faumuina said once contact is made with Vaitinasa and discussions held, he will then call a committee hearing to receive testimony on the record from the DOE director.
Samoa News reported last Thursday on the controversy surrounding DOE travel to Samoa and the individuals who travelled with the DOE director with the possibility of recruiting teachers from the independent state.
Vaitinasa said the choice to recruit teachers from neighboring Samoa is due to the fact there is a shortage of local qualified educators, and since Samoa is close in proximity, it is a cheaper alternative than recruiting from the US mainland. (See Thursday's edition for more details).
FONO CONFIRMS TWO LAWMAKERS FOR THE ASEDA BOARD
The Fono has officially confirmed Sen. Galeai Tu’ufuli and Rep. Talia Fa’afetai Iaulualo as members of the ASEDA board. The Senate's unanimous vote of 14-0 vote for each nominee was handed down at yesterday’s session while the House vote of 15-0 for Galeai and 14-1 for Talia was made during Sunday’s session. (Both the Senate and House convened at 1p.m. on Sunday to make up for the holidays and days off during this session).
There were no committee hearings in the Senate or House for the two nominees, who are the Fono leaders’ selection as their representatives to the board. Prior to yesterday’s Senate vote, Sen. Tuiasina S. Esera said senators are well aware of the nominees’ work background and that both are also lawmakers.
In his nomination letter to the Fono, the governor says the two lawmakers have many years of “extensive experience in governmental affairs as well as their comprehensive understanding of macro level issues impacting... American Samoa as a whole”.
REVIEW OF ASG FY 2014 BUDGET SET TO FINISH TODAY
The Fono's joint budget committee hearings for the government’s fiscal year 2014 budget proposal is set to be completed by the end of today, followed by a committee debate tomorrow morning.
Budget hearings were initially set to end this Friday but the hearing schedule of ASG offices, agencies and departments has been revised at least four times in order to add more ASG entities in the last two weeks.
Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee chairman Sen. Laolagi F.S. Vaeao told lawmakers that the budget hearings are set to finish this afternoon with the review of the budgets for the Fono and Department of Public Safety.
The plan is for the joint committee to return tomorrow morning to debate the budget and make a final committee decision. It’s unclear at this point if the debate will last for one day, or longer.
FUNDING ALLOCATED BY DMWR TO REPLACE FLOATING DOCK
Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources has allocated $45,000 in its fiscal year 2014 budget for replacement of the floating dock at Malaloa, said DMWR director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga when questioned by a lawmaker during last week’s budget hearing.
She explained that once the current work overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency is done, this allocation — through a federal grant — will be used to replace the floating dock damaged by the 2009 tsunami.
This information was greatly appreciated by lawmakers who want to see this floating dock re-established for the Malaloa marina.
DMWR’s FY 2014 budget totals $2.85 million with $270,000 in local revenue and $2.58 million in federal grants. The department’s FY 2013 budget was $2.58 million.
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