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Gov makes new cabinet nomination

Gov. Togiola Tulafono has submitted for Fono confirmation his new appointments for director of the Agriculture Department and reappointments for the director of Education Department and Chief Procurement Officer.

The nominations, all made in separate letters dated Jan. 10, are now put in resolution form for introduction in both the Senate and House.


To head the Agriculture Department, the governor has nominated Lealao Soloata Melila Purcell Jr.  The former director, Lefiti A. Pese was appointed by the governor late last year to be Secretary of Samoan Affairs following the death of Tufele Li’amatua.

In his nomination letter, the governor said Lealao has recently worked as a consultant to the Agriculture Department where he provided “self-sufficiency training and instruction to persons interested in starting and maintaining home gardening projects.”

Lealao had previously served as Human Resources manager at StarKist Samoa from 1990 to 2007. Prior to that, he was assistant Personnel manager from 1988 to 1990. He also worked for the Department of Education, from 1981 to 1988 as program coordinator for health, physical education and athletics, and has been a project director at DOE as well from 1983 to 1988, according to his resume submitted to the Fono.

A graduate of Kahuku High School in Hawai’i, Lealao holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in health education from Brigham Young University and a Master of Education degree from the University of Hawai’i-Manoa. He served for 20 years as an Army Reservist and has earned many honors in service to our country,  said the governor.

“Lealao’s commitment to serving his family, village, government and country are evident,” said Togiola. “He will be an asset to the territory as director of the Agriculture Department.”

The governor says he is confident that Lealao will faithfully execute the duties and responsibilities of his office and urged the Fono for their support and confirmation.


The governor has re-appointed Dr. Jacinta Suataute Galea’i as DOE director and Mrs. Ivy Aiumu-Taufa’asau as Chief Procurement Officer. Both nominees failed to muster full support in the Fono last year for nomination to their respective posts and were rejected.

Galeai holds a Doctoral, Masters and Bachelor’s degrees in English, while Mrs. Aiumu-Taufa’asau holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

Togiola says he has full confidence in these two nominees to carry out the duties of their respective offices and urged the Fono for confirmation.