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Fono to vote on DHSS and DPR director appointees this week

Rendering of the proposed new Fono Building. [SN file photo]
Both nominees are current deputy directors

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s appointments of Muavaefa’atasi John Edward Suisala as director of Human and Social Services, and Kenneth Soala Tupua as director of Parks and Recreation were introduced this week in both the Senate and House.

Senate confirmation hearings begin today at 9a.m. for Tupua followed thereafter by Muavaefa’atasi. In the House, today’s confirmation at 8a.m. is for Muavaefa’atasi and tomorrow for Tupua.

In his nomination letter for Muavaefa’atasi, the governor said the director-nominee has over 20 years of management experience in both the territorial government and private sector.

Muavaefa’atasi earned a degree in Administration of Justice in 1983 and immediately began working for ASG until 1989. He returned to government in 1994 to serve as director of the Agency on Aging, Food and Nutrition Services (AAFNS) during the Lutali Administration and the first year of the Tauese Administration.

In the private sector, Muavaefa’atasi’s management experience includes serving as president and general manager of Polynesia Shipping Services for nine years. He has worked at DHSS for 14 years, serving as deputy director since 2009.

From 1990-1994, Muavaefa'atasi was the Legislative Assistant and Federal Grants coordinator at the Washington D.C office of the late former Congressman Faleomavaega Eni.

According to Lolo, Muavaefa’atasi’s “wide range of management experience” and his current post of deputy director “uniquely qualifies him to serve” as DHSS’s new director.

Additionally, his “management experience and expertise on the subject matter of DHSS makes him the ideal candidate for the director position.”

For Tupua, the governor said in his nomination letter that the director-nominee has over 30 years of experience in administrative management positions with the US Air Force, in the private sector, and ASG.

Lolo said Tupua served in the Air Force for 20 years and was honorably discharged in 1984. He also served in management positions for close to 10 years at Samoa Packing and has worked at Parks and Recreation since 2005, moving up to deputy director in 2013.

Lolo said Tupua, with his wide range of management experience, is “uniquely qualified” to serve as director.

Tupua has been involved in sports for many years, specifically as an International Level 2 Basketball Coach with 20 years experience, according to his resume, which also states that he served as the American Samoa National Olympic Committee secretary general from 1993 to 2009, and president from 2010 to 2011.


In other news from the Fono, both the Senate and House approved this week a House Concurrent Resolution that conveys the deepest condolences of the Fono and the people of American Samoa to Mrs. Vaofu’aomalo Soliai Solomona and the Solomona and Soliai families on the passing of DHSS director, Taeaoafua Fofogaoaiga Dr. Meki Tavita Solomona.

The resolution, which also pays tribute to Taeaoafua’s extensive service to his family and the people of American Samoa, was read and presented during last week’s funeral service for Taeaoafua, who passed away Dec. 11, 2017.