RESOLUTION FOR RETIREMENT FUND BOARD MEMBERS INTRODUCED IN HOUSE
A House resolution was introduced yesterday morning regarding the Governor’s nominees for the Retirement Fund board of trustees. Nominees are Su’a Carl Shuster, Talalemotu Mauga, David O Haleck, John Marsh, Brandt BJ Judy, Afuola Kalasa and Toafala Ianeta who are scheduled to appear before the House this coming Thursday.
According to the governor’s letter accompanying the resolution, all of the individuals have lengthy records of service to their families and to the community at large. Schuster, a successful local businessman served three terms in the House of Representatives and while a faipule he was involved with retirement fund matters.
Mauga is retired for many years in the Budget Office, including having served as its director, while Haleck is a successful local businessman presently managing the Haleck Group of Companies.
Marsh is retired after a lengthy career with Bank of Hawai’i, including having been area manager for American Samoa while Judy, a retired executive with GHC Reid & Company is being nominated to return to the board. The resolution states that he has been a trustee of the fund for many years and provides an excellent bridge between old and new boards.
The nominees possess the requisite business and financial experience necessary to the continued successful administration of the retirement fund and they are more than capable of protecting and investing the fund’s assets to ensure the financial health of our present and future retirees, the letter says.
In a subsequent letter Governor Lolo nominated Afuola, who is retired from a long career in government which included a number of years in the judiciary serving as an Associate Judge and most recently Deputy Director of the Office of Samoan Affairs. Iafeta is a health care professional who has spent his career in service to his community and he’s presently the head of radiology unit at the hospital.
ABOLISHING TOP POSITIONS AT HOSPITAL RAISED DURING HOUSE SESSION
The termination of six top positions at the hospital was brought up during the House Regular Session Monday morning. Representative Pulelei’ite Tufele Li’amatua Jr said on the floor this is a serious issue that the Fono should look into, given the positions are at management level.
The positions abolished by the hospital on recommendation of the hospital board included Chief Operating Officer/Vice President of Professional Services, Director/President of Nursing, Vice President/Human Resources Director, Quality Insurance Director, Vice President of Plant Services/Chief Engineer and Director of Care Services.
The faipule pointed out the position held by Sa Mavaega (Vice President of Plant Services/Chief Engineer) is literally the backbone of the hospital in carrying out the maintenance work and other critical areas of the hospital. Among his responsibilities, Mavaega was also overseeing the Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
Pulelei’ite noted that a hearing should be held on this matter given its seriousness. As reported earlier, from their evaluation of the hospital, the board found out that the positions that were impacted were not properly advertised, yet these positions were created along with their salaries and this is why the board called for a restructuring of manpower.
“So after our six or seven months of assessment of what is happening with the hospital, we are now implementing the changes that need to happen to put the hospital back on the right course, so that we can develop a more financially stable hospital,” said one of the board members.
According to the board member, these positions were created in the last administration with significant high salaries, and for the long term financial stability this is the first phase of changing polices to re-structure the financial reality of our community in the hospital budget.
Speaker of the house, Savali Talavou Ale, noted the matter should rest with the hospital board and lawmakers should allow the hospital board to carry out their duties. He suggested that maybe, at the time of the budget hearings; the hospital officials can be questioned on this matter. In the meantime, allow the board to carry out their duties, said the Speaker.
In responding to Samoa News queries on the matter, Hospital CEO Joseph Davis-Fleming said all redefined non-contract hospital senior management positions would be posted internally and limited to current hospital employees only for consideration, including the current senior management staff whose positions have been affected by the hospital reorganization.
“We do not feel the need to advertise these positions externally at this time since current incumbents will be given preferred consideration should they wish to continue their employment in these redefined management positions under the new hospital operational structure.
“This internal selection process will be conducted in accordance with LBJ’s HR policies & procedures as it specifically applies to this hospital reorganization. Salaries for these redefined positions have yet to be determined, but will be classified consistent with ASG HR classification guidelines and related methodology applicable to government hospitals.
"The redefined positions will be posted internally soon after we have completed this reclassification process,” said the hospital CEO. “This is standard and prudent hospital industry practice for any new governing board and administration within their first year of appointment, i.e., this reorganization decision prompted by LBJ’s chronic poor financial situation is not unique to American Samoa.”
TUAOLO MANAIA FRUEAN APPEARS BEFORE HOUSE FOR CONFIRMATION
A confirmation hearing will be held this morning in the House for Governor Lolo’s nomination of Tuaolo Manaia Fruean as Chief Election Officer. Tuaolo was Commissioner of Public Safety in the previous administration and a former Senator from Maoputasi District as well as a former Associate Judge.
The hearing will be held before the Government Operations Committee chaired by Faimealelei Anthony Allen. At the time when Governor Lolo M. Moliga first appointed Tuaolo, Tuaolo told Samoa News the governor approached him to take on this post and he accepted the appointment.
“My heart is for the people and I’m all about serving the community through the government in any position I’m appointed to. I accepted the governor’s request and will work diligently to uphold laws and regulations of this important office," said Tuaolo.