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Cost containment measures still in effect, but could be lifted soon

ASG Budget and Planning Office director, Catherine A. Saelua

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — ASG Budget and Planning Office director, Catherine A. Saelua informed directors that the governor’s general memorandum issued late January this year due to the partial federal government shutdown — which has already ended — remains in effect.

The memo outlines measures covering local funds: no overtime unless it's “extreme circumstances”; no new hires unless there is an extreme need; and directors “shall review, scrutinize and justify” renewal of employment contracts.

Saelua stressed that any overtime must be approved by the Governor’s Office.

“Personnel is the biggest expenditure of the government,” she said, But if there is federal grant for a department/agency that requires new hires, “by all means, hire” but as for “the local [funding], everything is on hold at this point in time” until the Governor’s January order is rescinded.

Based on information from ASG Treasury, “we hear that Customs collected a milestone number,” she said, but didn’t reveal any other details. "We’re pretty hopeful that at the end of the second quarter” — which is Mar. 31, 2019 — the Governor’s January memo can be lifted.

It was mentioned later that increment payouts are also on hold at this point.