Governor's organizational protocol is made known to directors

Chief of Staff Fiu Saelua is to be copied on all communications
fili@samoanews.com

To ensure that all ASG entities work collaboratively on all government matters and to eliminate the “bad habit of assumption,” Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has informed executive branch directors that his chief of staff, Fiu J. Saelua, shall be copied on all communications.

In a memo titled, “Organizational Protocol”, last week to directors, Lolo said the rising incidents of communications issued by respective agencies announcing programs and other agency activities without copying the chief of staff, “is to cease”.

While the governor didn’t specify in the memo examples of incidents, he did point out that the conduit through which matters are brought to his attention promptly is by ensuring inclusion of his chief of staff in all communications.

According to the governor, creating seamless and open networks within all agencies of the American Samoa Government to facilitate free flow of information is necessary to ensure that “we are in tune with what is going on in all agencies” of ASG.

He then revealed an embarrassing situation involving a diplomat but didn’t provide any other details. However, Samoa News understands that the incident involves two diplomats from an Asian country, who are assigned to the US.

“We have recently experienced diplomatic embarrassment because agencies were not talking to each other along with cross-checking information to eliminate the engagement in the bad habit of assumption,” Lolo wrote.

He told directors that they need to talk to each other to create empowerment through the sharing of intellectual capacity and information.

“Organizational strife, discord, conflict, disagreement, arguments and animosity reflect communication breakdown among agencies and it does not bode well to our commitment to collaboration and collectivism,” he said.

Lolo also said that it’s the responsibility of each director to ensure that all agencies of the government “are conversant on functions and activities” of a director’s agency.

The governor’s memo, dated Sept. 12th, was issued around the same time Lolo called a meeting at the Governor’s Office conference room with directors and top leaders of certain agencies to bring everyone together to work collaboratively following, what appears to be, the displeasure of customs agents with the presence of police officers and special agents from the local Department of Homeland Security (ASDHS) at the Tafuna airport.

Customs agents at the airport complained to lawmakers, who then raised the issue in both the Senate and House, about police at the airport along with their K-9 unit, and ASDHS special agents, watching over what Customs agents do.

The governor’s meeting included directors and top leaders from the Department of Legal Affairs - which includes the Attorney General and Immigration Office; Port Administration and its Airport division; ASDHS; Treasury Department and Customs; and Agriculture Department and Quarantine Division, which also have agents stationed at the airport.

In a Sept. 11th Samoa News story, Police Commissioner Le’i Sonny Thompson is quoted as saying that police officers are not trying to interfere with the work of Customs officers stationed at the Pago Pago International Airport, and there seems to be some confusion on what’s happening at the airport.

Le’i was responding to earlier Samoa News reports about concerns raised by lawmakers  over police presence at the airport. (See Samoa News Sept. 11th edition for details)

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