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media) memo became the Lolo Admin’s watchwords when it comes to cutting costs —  unbudgeted personnel action will be rescinded, unbudgeted positions will be suspended, and a freeze on annual increments and overtime imposed.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.

 

JANUARY

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

 

FEBRUARY

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

 

MARCH

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’

 

APRIL

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

 

MAY

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

 

JUNE

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

 

JULY

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

 

AUGUST

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

 

SEPTEMBER

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

 

OCTOBER

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

 

NOVEMBER

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

 

DECEMBER

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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