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Governor issues 'warning letters' to some directors

Says some are either off island or elsewhere, but not in their offices

At last Thursday’s cabinet meeting, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga revealed that he has issued “warning letters” to some directors, but didn’t go into details about the warnings or identify the directors by name.

Lolo’s revelation came during portion of the cabinet meeting dealing with the “directors annual evaluation concerns,” which was number seven on the meeting’s agenda, but instead became the first issue raised by the governor, who told directors that the 2016 election outcome is the reflection of the public’s opinion of “your service” and the outcome of the election is also a call by the people for the administration to have much better results in its second term in office.

He told directors that the people’s confidence in the administration, by voting them back for a second term, is not because of him and Lemanu, “but your service to the public.”

What’s important to him and Lemanu is to push forward with commitments the administration plans to achieve for American Samoa, Lolo said, adding that when directors were re-appointed to their posts, “you were informed, that while the first term in office was a bit easy, the second one will be the most difficult one.”

Lolo said he and Lemanu plan to leave office with the government in a much better situation moving forward, and the agenda by the administration set for the next four years is not going to be easy as the cabinet and the administration have started working on improvements and expanding the local economic base.

“It was never done before,” he said, adding that he and Lemanu, as well as all directors believe that when they leave office there are better opportunities for American Samoa heading into the future.

He added that there are many major projects pending to serve the community. “We have committed to the people that we will find ways to improve their lives,” Lolo said; however, he noted that some directors are displaying certain types of behaviors — but he didn’t elaborate further.

“In fact, I have served some of you with some warning letters,” he told directors, but again, the governor didn’t elaborate on the context of the warning letters. He did say that it appears that what some directors are doing it to just get through the second term and then leave office. Lolo said this would be the easy thing to do, but the commitment “that we made to our people [is that] we will do everything possible within our abilities to serve the people in the best way possible.”

With that commitment made, Lolo said he and Lemanu will not back away from it or ignore it. Speaking for himself and Lemanu, the governor strongly recommended to directors, “if you have second thoughts in serving our people, please do our people a favor...” — but didn’t elaborate further.

He noted that some directors are not found in their offices, but are either in the US or elsewhere, and that is a serous problem.

“Our commitment to the people is to put out our best to make sure that we serve the people that we are committed to serving,” he emphasized, and reiterated that he and Lemanu have no plans to reverse the Administration’s agenda already set out for their second term in office.

He said it's easy for him and Lemanu to just serve in office for the next four years and then leave public service, “but that is not what God brought us in to do.” He told directors, “we are given responsibilities.”

The governor said that directors may have delegated their authority to someone else in the department, when it comes to the leadership role, but “you bear the responsibility of the job you hold.”

He told cabinet members to rethink carefully, the actions they take, and said their “loyalty” is not to him and Lemanu because “we never asked for your loyalty. Your loyalty goes to the people. We assist, we are here today to serve our people, nothing more, nothing less.”

Governor Lolo thanked cabinet members, saying “we’re very appreciative” of your service to the public. “We never have doubts.” he said, adding that the reason for improvement in government, “is not because of us (him and Lemanu) but because of you [cabinet members] and your service to the people.”

“We [governor and Lemanu] made a name because of your service, not us, and that’s why we’re asking the cabinet, let's not lose focus on our service and commitment to the people,” the governor said, and noted that he and Lemanu know the difficult work faced by cabinet members.

“We have come a long way to where we are today,” Lolo said and told the cabinet to do everything possible to help the community “while we have the chance”.

He reminded his cabinet that every administration faces problems and obstacles, “but our work is to make life easy for our people, through your service.”

Two senior ASG officials told Samoa News over the weekend that the governor was very serious about his message to directors as well as warning letters being delivered to some directors.

The two officials declined to provide details of the warning letters and what prompted them, nor would they discuss names of the directors to whom warning letters were given. The officials said directors are political appointees and “only the governor can make the decision on making such information available to the public.”

The officials were responding to Samoa News inquiries for background information and both had insisted on anonymity.