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ASHPO'S new location - Lt Gov says he and Lolo were never informed

 A look at the new home of the American Samoa Historic Preservation Office (ASHPO) on the ground floor of a new glass building in Fagaima.

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The American Samoa Historic Preservation Office (ASHPO) has moved in and occupied part of the ground floor of a new glass building in Fagaima, , although the building is still under construction.

Historic Preservation, which has been headed by Letitia Peau since the beginning of the year, will maintain its new location after a “partial certificate of occupancy” was issued by the Dept. of Public Works, said Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga at last Thursday’s cabinet meeting, in which one of the issues on the agenda was the relocation of executive branch offices.

Lemanu, who is also the acting governor, mentioned that there have been incidents where members of the public call the Governor's Office, seeking help in trying to locate an office or agency. He said in some cases, the Governor’s Office doesn’t know where that particular office or agency has moved.

To all executive branch departments and agencies, as well as offices that fall under the Governor’s Office, Lemanu said: “You have to request and submit notice to the governor” regarding the relocation of an office, and where. He said the new location of an office needs to be shared with the public.

He said one of the issues that has surfaced recently has to do with ASG agencies moving into buildings, which have not fully completed construction.

Lemanu then cited the Historic Preservation Office, which has moved into the Paramount building (owned by Paramount Builders CEO Papali'i Laulii Alofa) although construction is not fully completed. He said the building was not yet ready, and had yet to be issued a “certificate of occupancy”.

He referred to the law, which states that only after the “certificate of occupancy” is issued can a structure be occupied. He said he has accepted the Historic Preservation's new location, adding that he passed by one day, and there was a Historic Preservation Office sign on the building.

Lemanu said he met with the Historic Preservation Office head (ta’ita’i), who apologized and said she did not know the law required a certificate of occupancy to be issued first.      Thereafter, Lemanu contacted Public Works director, Faleosina Voigt to issue a “partial certificate of occupancy” to cover the government in this case, because he doesn't know where else this office could move, especially when all ASG facilities are filled and Historic Preservation has already set up at its new location.

If there is any other issue that comes up later due to this matter, Lemanu made clear that he is the one who makes the final decision for the “partial certificate of occupancy” to cover the government.

He reminded cabinet directors and heads of agencies that they must first inform the governor of their plans to relocate, before making such a move.