Admin Services cracks down on housing eligibility rules
Administrative Services Director Malemo Tausaga is fully enforcing current policies, which state only two-year ASG contractors have housing eligibility and he has evicted two families from the government housing in Fogagogo, noting they are not contract workers and are not entitled to reside in government housing.
They are DOC Program Coordinator, Pat Galea’i and Former Senator Letalu Maui, who were each given 30 days to leave the units at Freddie’s Beach.
Eviction notices were sent to both Letalu and Galea’i late last year and Letalu has since moved out with his family. However, Galea’i requested an additional 30 days, which will be up this Friday, Jan. 31, 2014.
The Admin. Services Director in response to Samoa News queries said Galea’i has been staying in government housing for over ten years — since the late Gov. Tauese P. Sunia’s administration.
According to the eviction notice, leaked to Samoa News, Malemo informed Galea’i his residing in government housing is “unjustifiable”, given ASG housing is made available only to two-year ASG contractors, who have housing eligibility.
“You are a local hire, career service employee, which means you do no qualify or are not eligible to reside in government housing,” Malemo noted in the eviction notice, and confirmed to Samoa News that Galeai’s last day at the ASG housing is this Friday.
However, Galea’i told Samoa News over the phone he intends to settle this matter amicably. The DOC employee explained that during Tauese’s time, he was working for the private sector when he was approached to work for ASG, however because the salary was not enough, he asked for a housing subsidy to make up for the lower salary and he has been living there for a very long time.
Sylvia Mauga, Administrative Services finance manager told Samoa News the rent for each unit is $750 and Galea’i pays his utilities (approx. $50-$100 per month) while DOC pays the rest of the rent — ranging from $600-$650. She stated Galeai’s rent is paid up to date. Emails to DOC Director Keniseli Lafaele were not answered as of press time as to why DOC has been paying for Galeai’s rent, when he’s allegedly not eligible for government housing.
Malemo explained that Letalu was a Senator from Manu’a when he started living at the housing, however another senator has since taken over the Senate seat, as Letalu’s term ended in January 2013, yet Letalu stayed on at the housing, which was unacceptable.
According to the eviction notice, Malemo informed Letalu that ASG housing is made available only for two-year ASG contractors, who have housing eligibility. The finance manager for Admin. services told Samoa News that Letalu paid for his utilities, but did not pay rent.
In the past, there was a former representative who also lived in government housing while the Fono paid for the rent, Mauga explained. She noted local statute does have a clause that allows those in office from Manu’a, who have no relatives on Tutuila, to reside in government housing, but certain conditions apply. (She did not elaborate what the conditions were.)