The year in review — 2013 from the headlines


The year 2013 brought new leaders to the Executive Branch, making history when Lolo Matalasi Moliga became the first native of Manu’a to be sworn in as American Samoa’s governor.
Lolo and his running mate, Lemanu Peleti Mauga, a former senator and military retiree, surged to the win with their motto of “People First,” and have brought into their administration a team of both old and new faces as directors and board members to form their cabinet, including most of the large field of candidates that ran against them.
Moving from candidate to governor, Lolo pledged transparency and although he hasn’t always had full cooperation from departments, the Governor’s Office itself has pretty much maintained an open door with the media, going so far as to invite reporters regularly to cabinet meetings — a first for any ASG administration.
When Lolo and Lemanu took the helm it appeared ASG was in dire financial straits and within minutes after taking office, on Jan. 3 the governor issued his first memo outling “cost containment measures.”
Parts of the (now famous and much quoted in the media) memo became the Lolo Admin’s watchwords when it comes to cutting costs —  unbudgeted personnel action will be rescinded, unbudgeted positions will be suspended, and a freeze on annual increments and overtime imposed.
This has been a tough one to enforce, even in the Governor’s Office itself and many headlines in Samoa News this year illustrate the tug-of-war between directors, agency heads, Human Resources, boards of directors, CEOs and the rank and file employees as the administration struggles for solvency.
These are the headlines Samoa News editorial staff found that best exemplify the ebb and flow of news this past year.
Take-home pay will shrink 2% starting today
Governor to meet with DPW on roads
Utu slated to be new interim CEO for ASPA
ASG deficit at $44 Million — Massive payouts to directors
ASTCA signs with O3b Networks for higher speed at affordable price
Avamua Dave Haleck heads up efforts to launch new bank
DBAS confirms OIG investigation into 1602 program
KFC American Samoa temporarily closes its doors
ASG to terminate payroll deductions to private sector
ASNOC has new president, promises new beginning
Tauloto Tuiolemotu wins Samoa News Territorial Spelling Bee
ASPA announces reduction in certain rates and fees
Human Resources withholds $1.5 MIL payment to NHHC
BoH exit: Lolo contemplates declaring state of financial emergency
ASHSAA Boys Varsity Basketball championship game ends in melee
Zions Bank agrees to take over ASG payroll account
BoH delays departure for 12 months
ASHSAA sports calendar altered after latest melee
Hearing on delay in airport road project reveals ‘blame game’
Millions in unallowable costs for NHHC itemized in NEG report
ASG court battle with Marisco, BoH put to rest with Settlement Agreement
Faleomavaega seeks to amend Reg CC to include territories
"Same day turnaround" for business licenses, now a reality
Flag Day 2013: To American Samoans everywhere “…this is your special day”
House, Senate and District expense reports revealed
Lolo admin sees firsthand the needs of Manu’a
Old retirement board seeks to invalidate new board
Customs Agents allege one of their own may be picking up contraband
Chief Customs Officer placed on leave during probe
Fai’ivae title awarded to Iuli Alex Godinet
Whitehorn has bond issues, work still slated to complete on time
ASHSAA sports takes huge funding cut for new school year
DOH begins crack down on food service operations
Local students place 5th overall in National History Day competition
AS ranks behind CNMI, Guam in safeguarding marine ecosystems
Meet our astronaut, Christina Hammock
Gov directs focus on highway repairs & Manu’a development
Geothermal energy added to aggressive local Energy Action Plan
Former Chief Customs Officer re-assigned after ALJ reinstatement
Samoan language ‘webinar’ to explain Obamacare
Governor assigns five teams for "Adopt-A-School" initiative
July 4th will be honored, along with our youth, declares Governor
AIGA Foundation brings Fiji in concert
DOE reinstates $200,000 sports budget
Task force appointed to coordinate local education summit
Manu’a Cession Day celebration begins tomorrow, an ASG holiday
Fed sequester shaves $8MIL from ASG 2014 budget
Whitehorn contract terminated, options discussed
Chief Customs Officer terminated following investigation
FBI agents arrive in territory to probe 1602 Program
LBJ’s outgoing board chair reveals hospital’s dire finances
FBI issues subpoenas to several local residents, including lawmakers
DOE delays school opening due to sanitation problems
Ocean Center celebrates first year with Jean-Michel Cousteau
ASG forks over more than $900K in unpaid overtime
Governor declares State of Emergency for public schools
Bishop Peter Brown ordained as new leader of local Diocese
New school year officially begins today
ASPA board cancels rate hike approved by previous board
USDOE officials here to review compliance with high risk requirements
Armed local police officers one step closer to reality
Senators: Proposed child abuse law may conflict with parent's right to discipline
LBJ board bogged down with admin issues says Lolo
DOC cancels Industrial Park expansion after title dispute
Salu threatens to cancel games over violent bus stoning
ALJ regarding Lefiti: “… termination is not appropriate”
Gov's meeting sees no words minced by leaders on school violence
ASG begins transfer of its BoH accounts to Zions Bank
Students who lost parents in tsunami receive ed sponsorship
Governor: ASG employees paid with federal grants — “stay home”
AG's office appeals decision by ALJ to reinstate Chief Customs Officer
Gov tells furloughed workers to return to work
TCF inmate escaped to go nightclubbing with girlfriend
Tisa’s Tattoo Fest: The Art of the Tatau influencing the world
Ed Summit examines dual language initiative to cure ed ills
Faleomavaega hospitalized at LBJ, medivaced to Honolulu
Jury trial date set for alleged cop killer Siaumau Siaumau Jr.
Sen. Galeai: answer to improving ed system is to improve teachers
Newly crowned Miss American Samoa is  Eleitino Tuiasosopo
GAO officials coming for follow-up study on impact of minimum wage
RFP issued for Satala Power Plant
ASG laborers receive pay hikes
Local Filipino community solicits aid for Philippines storm victims
DOE maintenance and staff transferred to Public Works
Huge Crown of Thorns outbreak
Tulsi Gabbard one of two to receive New Frontier Award
Hefty checks go to Gov’s Ed Task Force top personnel
Vatia triumphs again, winning second fautasi race this year
Back-2-Back ASHSAA football champs – the Tafuna Warriors
Vice Speaker skeptical of dual language for classroom
Primary Care Clinic on the chopping block in LBJ power struggle
BoH delays closure indefinitely
Blog accuses media of cover-up over Eni’s health
Micronesia embraces Ulu Project after plan stalled locally
Longline fleet to tie up boats, post FOR SALE signs
Food stamp benefits to be reduced by 13% next month
Vice Chair of Immigration says too many Asians live here
Hawai’i rules Samoa Bowl 11
Reporter Fili Sagapolutele contributed to this report.


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