Lolo tell his directors and agency heads: “Bear with us”
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — With the fourth and final quarter of the fiscal year, always a challenging time for government when it comes to finances, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga gave a pep talk and words of encouragement to his cabinet during a meeting yesterday.
The fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018, started on July 1st and ends Sept. 30, which is also the close of the current fiscal year. And it’s this time of the year, directors and heads of agencies in government are under pressure to maintain a balance budget before the start of the new fiscal year.
“I believe that this is one of the most challenging times for the administration, especially in the last two weeks. It’s being very tough for us, it’s very challenging. But it brings in new motivation into all of us,” the governor said during the cabinet meeting but didn’t elaborate further.
Lolo told directors that he knows that he and Lt. Gov. Lemanu Sialega Palepoi Mauga have been “having ups and downs as far as dealing with all of you. But one thing that we realize is, you are doing your job.”
Lolo mentioned briefly some of the agencies in which there were ‘ups and downs’: Port Administration, Procurement Office, Department Public Works, American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency “and even the Attorney General and my legal team.”
“I know we sounded like off beat at most of the time, we make decisions not based on what we believe [in] but we do make decisions to ensure, it is to the best interest of our people,” he told cabinet members.
“Many times we make decisions contrary to our own values, but for the sake of our people we have to take the risk and make those decisions,” the governor said and expressed appreciation to the AG, the Governor’s Office legal team “and all of you for having the patience to deal with us.”
“I know we’ve been hard, but that’s what we’re suppose to do. For us to better serve our people, we need to do that. It gives us the indications that you are doing your job,” he further told directors.
He then noted that on Tuesday, “I forced” the ASEPA director Ameko Pato “to do something that’s against his will and against the law. Why? It’s because I believe it’s our job to protect the interests of our people.”
While the governor didn’t elaborate further on what he forced Pato to do, Lolo did tell cabinet directors that, “all we’re asking is to bear with us, we may not make sense all the time, but in our hearts, we want to make sure, that what we do and what we decide to do will represent the best interests of our people.”
The governor reminded the meeting, that “government is about people, it’s about serving people to the best of God’s given talent to us.”
He repeated: “So bear with us. I know it’s hard, going forward is not easy, but we are leaders. Many times we make decisions that are against our will, our values and our beliefs, but we repeatedly ask you — ‘make decisions that benefit our people’. Thank you for your patience.”
Samoa News will report in future editions on a wide range of issues covered during the three-hour cabinet meeting in the Agriculture Department conference room in Tafuna.