AS Economic Development Authority meets, elects initial officers
The newly reconstituted American Samoa Economic Development Authority held its organizational meeting last week with its newly confirmed members.
Authority Board of Directors members are Dr. Falema'o "Phil" Pili, Keniseli Lafaele, Iulogologo Joe Pereira, Utu Abe Malae, Afoa Moega Lutu, Taimalelagi Claire Tuia Poumele, Steve Watson, and Fono designees Senator Galea'i M. Tu'ufuli and Representative I'aulualo Fa'afetai Talia.
All were in attendance for the meeting except Afoa, who was excused to attend the annual Conference of Western Attorney Generals.
The board adopted by-laws for the organization and elected its initial officers. According to newly elected Secretary Steve Watson, Falema'o was named Chairman, Utu was selected Vice-Chair, Taimalelagi named the Treasurer, with Keniseli and Watson named Assistant Treasurer and secretary, respectively. Staff support is being provided by the Department of Commerce, said Watson.
He further stated the board reviewed a draft Request For Proposal (RFP) for the selection of a financial advisor in order to move toward its goal of issuing bonds in order to restructure the government's current and long term debt, and to finance new projects having both socio-economic and job creation impacts on the territory.
Falema'o indicated that priority is being given to refinancing current high interest debt, including two Retirement Fund loans, the Tobacco Settlement loan, and outstanding claims and judgments, including the judgment owed Progressive Insurance (the Laufou fire claim). Also on the agenda as a priority are roads and drainage, which would leverage the annual grant funding from Federal Highway.
According to Watson, the board's next meeting will be held October 16, 2013.
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