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DPS makes more personnel changes, against orders from HR

Despite mandates by the Human Resources for all departments and agencies to stop all voluntary and involuntary reassignment and transfer of employees — which causes liability the government cannot afford — Department of Public Safety Chief of Police Tauese Vaaomala Sunia has again made personnel changes at DPS, about which Acting Police Commissioner Save Liuato Tuitele had no knowledge.


Save told Samoa News that he’s unaware of any personnel changes and that he would talk to the Chief of Police about the changes.


Samoa News received calls on Sunday about the changes, which involve the swapping of Police Officers Lomu Mosese and Aukuso Lafaele. According to the officers with the Traffic Division, Lomu will be working with them, and Lafaele, a certified Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) instructor, will be transferred to the West Substation.


The HR Director in his letter issued to all departments and agencies, said that voluntary and Involuntary reassignment and transfer of employees, especially career services employees, within or between agencies without approval by the Human Resources director is prohibited and must stop immediately. 


The HR Director pointed out that under the American Samoa Administrative Code 4.0313(b) (1) &(2); reassignment is movement of a permanent employee from one position to another in the same or another class within the same agency with the prior approval of the director.


Transfer is defined as movement of a permanent employee from one position to another in the same or another class between agencies with the prior approval of the director. All lateral movements of personnel must be approved by the Director, or in the case of the Judicial Branch, the Chief Justice.


According to the letter, the word “Director” in this case refers to the HR Director.


“Ignoring this warning will result in unnecessary time and effort trying to resolve employee grievances; cause disruptions in the workforce; create low morale; and most importantly, undermine employee dignity and rights. From an economic point of view it is counter productive and very much a liability the American Samoa Government can’t afford.”


Thompson stated that if and when it is necessary to do so — to allow the HR to look at it first and HR will help achieve the mission, while also protecting employee rights.


Samoa News spoke with Officer Lafaele, however he declined to comment on the matter.  According to police officers who did not wish to be named, Tauese instructed the dispatchers to inform the two police officers of the changes.


Samoa News contacted the police station and the changes were confirmed by the dispatchers. Efforts to obtain comments from Tauese have been unsuccessful as of press time.