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Cops peeved over retirees hired as community liaisons

The hiring of two retirees as Liaison officers with the Department of Public Safety has raised a lot of eyebrows and questions within the police department.


Former Tualauta Senator and retired military man Paogofie Mauigoa has been hired as a Community Liaison on a $40,000 salary while Retired Police Major Lefanoga Eseroma will be the advisor to the Warden at the Tafuna Correctional Facility on a $27,000 salary.


The proposed salary on Paogofie’s contract is slated at $40,000 while the DPS proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2014 is $35,000 for each of the Liaison officers.


Ranking officers, who did not wish to be identified, were saddened that Paogofie has been hired as a mediator to deal with members of the public. One officer, told Samoa News, that this is the same “game” that government leaders in the past administration played, and it's surprising to see that it has continued on with this new administration.


“Creating positions, although political appointees — and wasting resources on unnecessary people — was what the new administration promised not to follow, yet they are proceeding on the same route," according to an official at DPS.


The governor’s Executive Assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira in response to Samoa News stated that Paogofie and Lefanoga are political appointees, who are hired as part of the governor’s mitigating plan for the betterment of the DPS.


Iu stated that Paogofie has cultural understanding and is well respected among traditional leaders, so he can assist DPS in ironing out any controversies with members of the public. Paogofie will not be involved in police work, he’s a community liaison, Iu said.


The executive assistant reiterated this is a political appointment which ends when the current administration's term lapses.


“These are also "at will" contracts, which do not provide any security for the holder. They don't qualify for overtime or compensatory time and they are expected to work 24/7."


According to the contract for Paogofie — leaked to Samoa News — the duration of this contract is at the will of the governor.


The effective date on the contract is September 3, 2013, however while Paogofie, the AG, and the Budget Director signed off on it, the HR Director's signature is missing. 


Acting Commissioner, Leiseau Laumoli said Paogofie will be the mediator for controversies between churches, and in land disputes and other areas where his assistance is needed.


Leiseau told Samoa News that Liaison officers for DPS are not new positions — the last Liaison officer is now in the Senate, Senator Alo Fa’au’uga. He said it was a position that was also held by current Senate President Gaoteote Palaie Gaoteote.


Eseroma — who will be an advisor to Warden Luamana’i Maifea — is a retired DPS Major, and Leiseau stated that Eseroma has law enforcement background. The position “Major” is between a Captain and a Commander’s position; however, Samoa News understands the “Major” rank — have since been terminated from the DPS ranks.