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Fono in Review: 3 week recess on tap

Both the Senate and House yesterday approved their respective concurrent resolutions calling for a three-week mid session recess to commence at the close of business this Friday and reconvene on Mar. 4. The identical resolutions state in part that the Legislature, having conducted work on pending matters and in order to preserve legislation session days for most efficient use, it is appropriate to temporarily recess Fono business to fully prepare for disposition of additional and incoming agenda. Both chambers will now go through the usual protocol of endorsing each other’s resolution to make it official for the recess. Major work this week for lawmakers deal with cabinet confirmation hearings, except for a House committee hearing later today dealing with the American Samoa Power Authority. RETIREMENT FUND BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETINGThe recess also coincides with the ASG Employees Retirement Fund Board of Trustees’ meeting set for later this month in Honolulu. The more than 20 members of retirement committees of the Fono are invited to attend and their air fares and per diems are paid for by the Retirement Fund. Whether or not newly appointed members of the board will be attending, or the old members, or both is not clear. Samoa News reported on Monday that the Governor’s Office confirmed last Thursday that the governor “will reconstitute” the ASG Employees Retirement Fund board of trustees, which will convene its first meeting later this month in Honolulu, Hawai’i. Lolo is currently in the process of identifying names for the new Retirement Fund board, said the governor’s executive assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira, who was responding to Samoa News inquiries. The governor has not indicated who he will appoint to the new board. The old board members are Aleki Sene Sr., who is chairman of the board; former Lt. Gov. Faoa Sunia; Fanene Morris Scanlan; Magalei Logovi'i, former ASG Treasurer; and, Brant \BJ\ Judy, a former chief financial officer for G.H.C. Reid Ltd., Co.The value of the ASG Employees Retirement Fund reached more than $214 million and earned more than $13 million in fiscal year 2010, which ended on Sept. 30. 2010, according to a Fono summary report of February 2011’s Retirement Fund meeting held in Honolulu.The report, prepared by the Senate President's Office, was based on details, information, and presentations made at the Honolulu meeting on Feb. 23-24, 2011 and attended by Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie, House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale, as well as members of the retirement committees of both the Senate and House. STATUS OF ASG-ASGERF $30MIL LOANRep. Larry Sanitoa wants to know the status of the $20 million dollar loan from the ASG Employees' Retirement Fund. The Tualauta faipule told fellow lawmakers during the regular session last week that there is no clear figure as to how much of the money remains but as far as he knows, only $1.5 million is left. He asked the House Speaker to instruct the appropriate House Committee Chairman to look into the issue and find out whether a report can be submitted to the Fono, detailing the balance of the loan, as well as a list of all the expenditures.REQUEST TO BAN PARKING ON THE FAGATOGO MALAERep. Maugaoalii Leapai Tusipa Anoai has written a letter to acting director of the Department of Parks and Recreation Maeataanoa Pili Gaoteote addressing the parking of vehicles on the Fagatogo Malae. The Fagatogo faipule said that for some time now, the Department of Public Safety and patrons of ANZ Bank have used the malae as a parking lot. “Vehicles damage the grass on the field which we have seen for years and makes it very difficult to regrow or even replace,” Maugaoalii wrote.\The goal of creating a pristine aesthetic to the town area is defeated because of the unclean appearance of the malae caused by vehicle treading