SENATE AGAIN REJECTS RETIREMENT FUND BOARD NOMINEES
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga will now have to appoint new members to the ASG Employees Retirement Fund board of trustees after the Senate yesterday rejected all of the nominees resubmitted for consideration during the special session.
During the 2nd Regular Session, the Fono rejected Su’a Carl Schuster, Talalemotu Mauga, Avamua David Haleck, John Marsh, Afuola K.S. Nanai, and Toafala Iafeta.
The seventh nominee, Brant ‘BJ’ Judy was the only returning member of the current board and he was the only nominee who was not on island during confirmation hearings by the House and Senate during the 2nd Regular Session which ended last Thursday.
Names of the nominees were presented at yesterday’s Senate session for a vote and they were all rejected. The nominees and their votes were as follows: Su’a and Mauga at 6 yes- 8 no; Avamua with 3 -11; Marsh at 5- 9; Judy 7- 7; Afuola 2- 12; and Iafeta 6- 7 with one ballot not counted.
Each nominee would have needed at least 10 “yes” votes to be confirmed.
Last Saturday, the House confirmed four members and rejected Su’a, Marsh and Avamua — all three were then kept alive in a reconsideration motion. However, with the Senate rejection, any House reconsideration vote will not matter.
At this point, the governor will have to submit new nominees when the Legislature returns in January for the 3rd regular session. Because Judy was only rejected once, he is the only person that can be re-renominated in the next session, if the governor decides to do so.
STARKIST SAMOA LAND LEASE RENEWAL IN THE FONO
One of the issues for the special session to consider is the StarKist Samoa land lease renewal of government property in Atu’u and the measure is now before both the Senate and the House. No committee hearings have been set, but the Fono leaders have encouraged committees given this measure to review it as soon as possible.
House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale told lawmakers this week there are supposed to be amendments resubmitted for this lease, which are to be included in a House review.
According to the measure, the lease term is to begin Nov. 1, 2013 and end Oct. 31, 2043 — a lease of 30 years. The lease proposal was received by the Fono on Sept. 24 and it covers the land in Atu’u currently occupied by the cannery.
Under local statute, any lease of ten years or more pertaining to government-controlled property is subject to Fono review and consideration. However, if the Fono does not act on the lease within 30-days after it receives the lease, it is automatically approved.
At yesterday's session, Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie said the leadership should know by the end of today as to when the special session will complete its work.
The special session is to convene for a period of not more than 20 calendar days.
LAWMAKERS REQUEST DOE SUPPORT FOR PARENT/STUDENT CENTER
Ma’oputasi Reps. Maugaoali’i Leapai T. Anoai and Va’amua Henry Sesepasara have informed the Education Department that Coleman Elementary School has been able to identify a building to house the Pago Pago school’s Parent/Student Center.
In an Oct. 2 letter, the lawmakers say that the Parents and Teachers Association at Coleman met several times to discuss this matter and recommended utilizing the building directly behind the school’s cafeteria as the new center.
The building is currently being used to store materials and tools that subject the school children to hazardous conditions and could be used instead “to advance developmental programs for our students,” according to the letter addressed to Education director Vaitinasa Dr. Salu Hunkin Finau.
The letter requests the director’s approval to repair the building and install new bathrooms to better service the needs of students. The estimated cost for such repairs is about$13,500 which would cover the materials needed to do the work, the carpentry, electric, plumbing, and a sewer line of about 180 feet with labor cost inclusive.
This project “will afford our students the opportunity to work with parents in a learning environment comparable to their academic efforts and achievements,” the letter states. “But more importantly, it gives parents an inside track on how they can best assist with the learning and development skills of our children.”
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