ASG Vehicle and Energy Marshal sworn in
It's now official — Alu Fa’amasino, yesterday took the oath to serve the American Samoa Government under the Department of Public Safety as a Deputy Law Enforcement Officer. The oath was administered by Commissioner of Public Safety, William Bill Haleck in the presence of Deputy Commissioner, Leiseau Laumoli and Criminal Investigation Division Commander Lavata’i Taase Sagapolutele at the Commissioner’s office.
It’s been a month since Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga appointed Fa’amasino as the Vehicle and Energy Marshal, and since the government vehicle policy began, wherein only directors have the privilege of taking their government vehicle home.
Haleck informed the newly sworn-in Marshal that his scope of work will be limited to the enforcement of the government's motor vehicle usage policy applicable to the Executive Branch of the government.
“Your authority will extend to the impounding of government vehicles, the usage of which is in violation of the government’s motor vehicle policy, and your authority does not include the power to arrest or detention,” said Haleck to the Marshal.
The Commissioner also stated that Fa’amasino’s appointment will be effective upon taking the oath of office and will continue until it’s revoked by Haleck.
The Marshal was issued a badge of office and will also be provided with an official ID- with photo from DPS, which will be returned to DPS when Fa’amasino no longer serves in this capacity.
The Marshal thanked Governor Lolo for appointing him to carry out the important duties of looking out for government vehicles and government buildings (to see if all lights and air conditioners are switched off, an additional responsibility of his office).
“I will be out there looking out for those who are abusing government vehicles and a lot of government employees are abusing government cars… yet the Bible states that servants shall obey their leaders,” said the Marshal. On behalf of the governor, Chief of Staff Fiu Saelua thanked Fa’amasino for accepting his appointment.
He noted that Fa’amasino will report directly to Chief of Staff and/or Governor, on a daily basis on which departments are still not complying with the government vehicle policy. Fiu reemphasized that Directors are the only ones allowed to take their cars home, and this is not the case for Deputy Directors, unless approved by the governor’s office.
Fa’amasino, from Nu’uuli, told Samoa News he’s been monitoring government buildings and government vehicles since mid March, including the after hours use of government vehicles without 24-hour permits and lights left on in government buildings after hours.
“Everyone knows the existing policy yet, they chose to deviate from it. Well, be warned I am out there and I will impound the government vehicle — then let your Director deal with it,” he said.
Last month, Human Resources Director Le’i Sonny Thompson issued a letter quoting ASAC Chapter 04, Section 4.0707, Government Property, which includes the following rules to be applied to all government-owned or government-leased motor vehicles and other self-propelled equipment: Section (a) “employee shall be held accountable for government property entrusted to them for their official use”. Section (a) (1) “All government vehicles or equipment are to be used for official business only”.
Section (a) (2) “No government vehicle shall be issued to any employee of the government who does not have a valid government official driving permit…” Section (a) (3) “No passengers or riders are to be transported unless they are on official government business or are employees of the government.
Le'i urged cabinet members to set aside some time to familiarize themselves with this regulation and asked that if there are any queries, to contact HR at 633-4485. “These four sub-sections of the regulation reference the most common and repetitive violation of the code as reported by the general public and proven by our personal assessment.”