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Governor expands Shipyard Board, seeks broader community representation

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has re-appointed two board members of the American Samoa Shipyard Service Authority and appointed seven new members to the board that will oversee, manage and operate the government owned Ronald Reagan Marine Railway at Satala.


“I am certain that these new members of the board have the skills and expertise necessary to continue to build the Shipyard Service Authority into the preferable provider of shipyard and water transportation services in the region,” said Lolo in a Feb. 15 memo appointing the board.


The appointments were made after the governor issued an executive order amending provisions of the 2011 executive order issued by former Gov. Togiola Tulafono establishing the authority with a five-member board.


Lolo’s order expands from five to nine, the members of the board with specific qualifications and clarifies that appointees to the board “serve at the pleasure of the governor.”


Asked why the governor opted to expand the number of board members, the governor’s executive assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira says the governor seeks “to provide a wider cross-section of stakeholders in the operation of the shipyard.”


Asked if the governor plans to establish this authority by law as a semi autonomous agency, Iulogologo says the governor’s economic development philosophy calls for the expansion of the private sector and privatizing government activities, which should be in the private sector.


“The governor is therefore assessing the merits of privatizing this activity and he is looking at the end of the fiscal year to make a decision on whether this government facility should be privatized given past intentions which forged the divestiture of the activity in the past,” Iulogologo said e-mail from Washington D.C. yesterday.


“The governor is pleased with the current operation of the shipway as it appears to be financially self-sustaining,” said Iulogologo, who is accompanying Lolo during the governor’s current meetings in the nation’s capital.


Under the new executive order, the authority’s nine members are appointed by the governor. At least two shall be experienced in the management of shipyards and/or seagoing vessels and at least two shall be from the private industries served by the shipyard.


Additionally, the board members shall generally serve terms of three years; however, board members may be appointed by the governor to serve more than three years to achieve staggered terms. Board members shall serve at the pleasure of the governor, who shall fill vacancies caused by death, resignation or removal.


Moreover, the board shall elect its own chairman and vice chair and other officers as it may deem desirable from among its members; and the officers are elected annually. The board shall meet at least twice per calendar year and five board members in attendance is considered a quorum.


In his appointment memo, Lolo re-appointed David Robinson, the vice chair of the previous board and Leilua Stevenson, who is the treasurer of the previous board. Lolo said Robinson and Stevenson will continue to serve on the board, with two years remaining in their initial terms as directors.


Stevenson, who has a solid financial background, was among the three individuals who Lolo had requested in a Jan. 31 memo to resign from the board. The other two asked to resign were Motu Seui Jr., and Tasi Tuiteleleapaga.


Former board chairman Carlos Sanchez resigned thereafter saying that he did not want to give anyone an opportunity to terminate him from the position so he was gladly handing it over to the new administration.


Lolo’s appointment memo states that the canneries are represented by Joe Carney of StarKist and Mike Wisneske of Tri Marine International, and their initial terms will be for one year. 


There are three members representing the “private sector”— Galumalemana Bill Satele, Louis Solaita and Unasa Leroy Ledoux. Initial terms for Galumalemana and Solaita are two years while Unasa is three years.


Lolo also appointed Capt. Wallace Thompson, representing management of seagoing vessels and Doug Harrington, representing shipyard management. Initial term for each individual is three years.


In addition to the designees from the canneries, Lolo says the other “new members bring varied and valuable backgrounds to the shipyard service board.”


For example, Lolo says both Galumalemana and Solaita are involved with businesses supporting the tuna industry; Unasa is a former Port Administration official; Thompson is a U.S. Coast Guard Master Mariner and Harrington is retired from many years as general manager of Hawthorne Machines, and he first came to the territory in 1985 as production manager of Southwest Marine of Samoa Inc. — the California-based company that operated the shipyard several years ago.


Lolo said he has all confidence that the board will be able to accomplish their task during their tenure.


Robinson said yesterday that he was contacting the new board members so that a meeting could be held to elect new board officers.


Updated 03/01/2013 to reflect correct title Harrington held at Southwest Marine.