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Exec order outlines emergency procurement and hiring procedures

American Samoa Power Authority crews seen yesterday working on restoring electricity to family homes in Ili’ili that have been without power since last week Friday — after Tropical Storm Gita swept through Tutuila. [photo: courtesy]
Identifies who are in charge

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — After declaring a State of Emergency due to Tropical Storm Gita, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga issued a Feb. 13 executive order outlining, among other things, emergency procurement and hiring, as the government focuses on post-storm recovery efforts.

Under provision of local law, the governor — upon declaring a state of emergency — is “authorized to issue further orders proscribing procedures for the conduct of territorial business, or orders, rules or regulations, or any territorial agency, if strict compliance with the provisions of any statute, order, rule or regulation would in anyway prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency.”

In the aftermath of Gita, the governor says it’s important to expedite necessary debris cleanup and removal, temporary and long-term repairs to damaged or unsafe government infrastructure, and to ensure the public health and safety of the people of the territory, according to the executive order.

For the duration of the declared emergency, the governor authorized the ASG Chief Procurement Officer to “exercise emergency procurement powers” — pursuant to local statute — which allows emergency procurements where there exists a threat to public health, welfare, or safety in the territory.

Additionally, an emergency procurement must be competitive as practicable under the circumstances. A written determination of the basis for the emergency and for the selection of the particular contractor must be included in the contract file.

The governor’s order also authorizes the chief procurement officer to carry out small purchases, which may be used for contracts for construction and for goods and services not to exceed $100,000.

In addition, the governor’s order also authorizes the Human Resources director to make “emergency appointments” — under Section 4.0244 ASAC (American Samoa Administrative Code), or regulations.

This regulation states: “Overtime — means work performed in excess of 40 hours per week for employees with a regular workweek. Exceptions: For fire-fighters, it is work in excess of an average of 60 hours per week or 240 hours in 28 days; for hospital employees, it is work performed in excess of 8 hours per day.”

According to the governor’s order, the “same authorities (listed above) are extended to executive directors” of ASG semi-autonomous agencies and authorities having independent procurement and human resource management authority.

“With the exception of payroll expense, there is an absolute freeze on the expenditure for local funds for any purposes not related to the provision of services essential to the health and welfare of the public,” or directly related to the storm recovery efforts as may be approved by the Governor’s Authorized Representative (GAR), according to the governor’s order. (Lt. Gov. Lemanu Sialega Palepoi Mauga is the GAR.)