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Governor says Directors must prioritize Cabinet Meetings

Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga insisted that Directors who are on island must attend cabinet meetings, and therefore some Deputy Directors who were present at the last cabinet meeting, held last Friday at the Agriculture Conference Room were told to leave.


The governor was not happy with the attendance of one of DOE’s Deputy Directors on behalf of the Director, who was attending a scholarship meeting.


DOE Deputy Fa’aui Vaitaotolu was told by staff of the governor to contact the DOE Director Vaitinasa Salu Hunkin Finau as she was supposed to inform the cabinet along with Director of DYWA, Jonathan Fanene on the status of the Troy Polamalu Fa’asamoa camp, which is currently ongoing in the territory. The DOE director did arrive later, with apologies.


Governor Lolo made it clear to his cabinet that when a Director is on island, their deputies are not allowed to attend the cabinet meetings. Another Deputy Director who left was OPAD’s Deputy Brian Thompson, however the OPAD director was in attendance.


Lolo made it clear that unless the Director is off island then the deputy director can attend the meeting, but if the director is on island, the Director must attend.


Lolo said it's been too long since the cabinet had a meeting and when these meetings are called he expects all his cabinet members to attend. He told the deputy directors to go back to their offices and have their director come to the meeting. “Tell the Director if they don’t attend the cabinet meeting their department does not have an official say in this cabinet meeting.”


He added that there are traditional leaders who have made time to attend the cabinet meeting yet some directors are busy with other meetings, and not prioritizing the cabinet meeting, which does not sit well with him.


Among the issues discussed by the governor at the meeting was the financial situation faced by the government and Lolo again reminded the Departments and Agencies who are federally funded to get their federal grant reimbursements. The governor has threatened that those who are not following the reimbursement policy, their employees will not get pay checks.


In March, the governor in a letter to all ASG departments and agencies noted that Treasury Department was instructed not to accept expenditures of grant funds not “officially specified” under the grant’s drawdown, in order to stop the “unanticipated” burden on the government’s General Fund, which has contributed to its negative balance, as un-budgeted local funds are not being reimbursed from federal grant sources.


“Further, disallowed costs uncovered during grant program audits again place the unanticipated burden on the General Fund to use un-budgeted local revenues to repay the federal government for grant disallowed costs,” the governor wrote.


Lolo told his cabinet last Friday that this has to stop.