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EMS Manager told by staff he's suddenly sacked

Technicians with the Emergency Medical Services are still trying to come to terms with the fact that EMS Manager Galumalemana Fuapopo “Popo” Avegalio has been placed on 30 days suspension to be terminated. This has been confirmed by EMS officials who spoke to Samoa News on condition of anonymity.Samoa News was told that EMS officials were called to a meeting around 10:30AM yesterday, where LBJ CEO Mike Gerstenberger, COO Toaga Seumalo, Ana Hargett (LBJ Vice President of Human Resources) and Sa Mavaega (Vice President of Physician Services) were present.At this meeting the LBJ CEO informed EMS officials that Popo “has been placed on suspension for 30 days to be terminated, and his position will be advertised after the 30 days,” according to an EMS official. The EMS official said they were under the impression the purpose of the meeting was to discuss their increments. Allegedly, the hospital owes three years of increment to the EMS, so they were shocked about the announcement. The EMS official said while this meeting was taking place, apparently Popo and other EMS officials were at a meeting with Gov. Lolo M. Moliga.He said, following the meeting with the governor, and upon his return to the office, Popo was informed by his subordinates that he was suspended, and about to be terminated. The EMS official said that minutes later the maintenance crew showed up at the EMS building and changed the locks to Popo’s office, while Popo was still inside the building. He was not served with a suspension letter when he left the EMS office yesterday morning. At 2:00PM, a memorandum was issued by Sa Mavaega appointing Soloi Lagoo as Acting Manager for EMS.In the memorandum obtained by Samoa News, it states, “This appointment will be in effect until the Manager’s Position will be advertised 30 days from the date of letter.” The document, dated Feb. 7, 2013, is from Sa Mavaega, VPPS, and cc’ed to LBJ CEO Gerstenberger, COO Toaga Seumalo, Ana Hargett, VPHR and Dr. Porotesano, EMSMD, and addressed to “ALL EMS Personnel”.Newly appointed LBJ board member Rep. Faimealelei Anthony Allen said he was shocked about the move to suspend the EMS Manager. The Aua faipule told Samoa News that he’s saddened that this has occurred, because he had informed the LBJ board that it’s ridiculous for the Head of Maintenance to oversee EMS due to the fact that he’s not a certified EMS technician.He further asked, “Can the maintenance manager get into the ambulance vehicle and serve the emergency calls for people’s health?” Faimealelei further stated that it’s really sad for people who serve the people and government for a lengthy period to be terminated, and they should be given a 30-day notice. The way things are handled regarding termination of hospital workers is ridiculous, he said, adding that this is something he is looking at addressing during their LBJ board meeting next week Wednesday.In March, 2012 when EMS was moved back under the umbrella of the LBJ hospital, Maintenance Manager Mavega was appointed to oversee the EMS, which did not sit well with the EMS employees.A senior EMS employee voiced disappointment over EMS being placed under the LBJ Hospital’s maintenance division, while paramedics questioned why trained EMS personnel have to report to the head of maintenance person, who has no knowledge of the duties that are performed by the paramedics.