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SENATOR MAUGA CALLS HEARING ON CLOSING OF PRIMARY CARE CLINIC
 
Hospital CEO and Hospital Board members are to appear before the Senate this coming Wednesday, on issues pertaining to the closing of the hospital Primary Care Clinic as well as hiring practices within the hospital.
 
Senator Mauga Tasi Asuega stated during regular sessions the Primary Care Clinic should remain open to provide better quality service to the people and he called for a hearing into the matter.
 
Late last year, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Iotamo Saleapaga, recommended to the Hospital Board to discontinue services provided by the Primary Care Clinic, alleging low patient numbers, overstaffing, repetition of what the medical clinics are doing, and not being “cost effective”.
 
(Samoa News notes the question of whether the clinic is to be transferred to the Dept. of Health is still unanswered. The governor during his State of the Territory Address indicated that ‘clinics’ were better placed under the DoH.)
 
Then, last week, Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga stated in a letter sent to the hospital board that current hiring process implemented by the hospital are unacceptable; pointing to the CEO hiring three people to do the job of one, and the three were hired with high salaries.
 
FFAS LEASE FOR 30 YEARS PROPOSED
 
The House of Representatives has yet to act on the lease of government land in Pago Pago for the Football Federation of American Samoa (FFAS) to be extended for a period of thirty years. The Senate is expected to introduce their version of the lease soon.
 
In a letter to Fono leaders, Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga stated FFAS uses the premises exclusively for the establishment, construction, maintenance, and operation of soccer fields, and an administrative office and clubhouse for the advancement of soccer related activities, and urged lawmakers to endorse the lease.
 
By law any lease of any government land for ten years or more is subject to Fono review and approval. The lease was originally for less than ten years (or nine years and eleven months) and is to expire in 2015. The proposed lease asks to extend the term of the lease for 30 years with a new expiration date of Sept. 30, 2035. According to the lease it’s 6.54 acres of real estate.
 
FFAS is to pay rent of $1 per month on the first day of each month and the lease shall be negotiated at three-year intervals to adjust for changes in circumstances not related to inflation, which increases or decreases the value of the leasehold, according to the lease.
 
The lease is executed with the understanding that a material part of the consideration to ASG is FFAS shall make a minimum capital improvement of $643,000 to construct necessary improvements and make operational the premises to carry on the specific uses of the leased premises, and such improvements that become necessary.
 
The lease also states that FFAS throughout the full term of the lease must procure and maintain at its own expense with respect to the leased premises, a policy of comprehensive general liability insurance with an insurer, covering both bodily injury and property, and naming ASG as an additional insured in which the limits of public liability for a personal injury shall be not more than $100,000.
 
In addition, FFAS shall throughout the full term of the lease procure and maintain at its own expense, standard property insurance against fire, vandalism and malicious mischief, in the amount of $50,000 coverage and failure to provide said insurance may be considered grounds for termination of the lease.
 
REPS SEEKING FINANCIAL REPORTS FROM TREASURY & RETIREMENT OFFICE
 
Rep Larry Sanitoa is seeking the updated Actuary reports from the Retirement Fund office. Sanitoa pointed out that the Actuary Report should be provided prior to the House holding the Confirmation hearing on the Retirement board, whose names were recently submitted to the Fono for confirmation.
 
The House is scheduled to hold its confirmation hearing for the Retirement Board nominees this coming Thursday. The nominees are former Lt Governor Faoa Aitofele Sunia, along with Treasurer Dr Falema’o Phil Pili, HR Director Sonny Thompson, Toafala Iafeta, Aloma Aumau-Langford, Lauvao Stephen Haleck and Maaelopa Bob Tuiasosopo.
 
Taotasi Archie Soliai pointed out during the House regular session last week that Treasurer Dr Falema’o Phil Pili has publicly announced that ASG’s budget for the first time is in the black, however the lawmakers have yet to see a ___financial report indicating such.
 
He said since Lolo and Lemanu’s administration came on board, they have held up increments for ASG employees, and yet these increments are approved in the budget annually. “When will this be lifted?” asked Taotasi who stated that if the Administration is not paying the increments — which ASG employees are entitled to — where is the money allocated for the increments?
 
Vice Speaker Ia’ulualo Talia Fa’afetai asked the House Clerk to request copies of reports the lawmakers are seeking.
 
FONO WILL ADJOURN FOR TWO WEEKS
 
The House and Senate have adjourned their regular session for two weeks, starting today. According to a Joint Resolution approved by both sides, the Fono, having completed substantial work on matters presented to it, and in order to preserve legislation session days for most efficient use, says it is appropriate to temporarily recess the business of the Legislature to fully prepare for disposition of additional and incoming agenda.
 
The recess is from Jan. 27, 2014 until Feb. 10, 2014.



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