Reason for continued USDOL reviews is, "We are not following the law,” says Lolo

USDOL reps on island for compliance review

With officials of the US Department of Labor on island last week conducting compliance reviews, ASG Human Resources Department Director Eseneiaso J. Liu reminded directors to submit to DHR all compensatory time for the government workforce for input in the computer system instead of keeping them in each department’s internal control.

Liu made the statement at last Friday’s cabinet meeting, held at the Gov. H. Rex Lee Auditorium, following the 25th Police Academy graduation ceremony where, among the people in the audience, was USDOL-Wage and Hour Division (WHD) Assistant Director of the Honolulu District Office, Mink Kirk and USDOL-WHD’s new investigator for the local office.

USDOL’s San Francisco regional office spokesperson Jose Carnevali has yet to reply to Samoa News inquiries sent Monday this week regarding, among other things, the purpose of Kirk’s visit and if the USDOL is conducting a compliance review of ASG agencies.

During the cabinet meeting, Liu pointed out that officials with the USDOL were in the territory conducting a compliance review. She said there are still offices and departments requesting information on comp-time, which are to be reported to DHR for proper recording in the system.

She said this policy has already been shared with all executive branch agencies but it appears there are still some entities keeping these records internally in their offices, instead of transmitting them to DHR.

Liu said USDOL officials are conducting a compliance review and she doesn't want ASG to be affected again for non-compliance with any federal labor laws.

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga told cabinet members that the reason why USDOL continues such compliance checks is because “we are not following the law”. He added that it's not a bad thing for them to be on island.

Lolo asked all directors to work with their staff to ensure that everyone follows the law.

Office of Samoan Affairs Deputy Secretary Malemo Tausaga said that there is comp-time for Samoan Affairs Office personnel who worked and were involved in the Flag Day cricket tournament.

He said the comp-time  records are on file but not submitted to DHR, and asked if the comp-time can be submitted for approval and input in to the system. He is concerned that if USDOL conducts a review of his office, they will find these records in their internal files.

Malemo shared that during the Flag Day cricket tournament, several older employees worked all day Saturday, sometimes until 6p.m and all their hours are kept internally at his office and are yet to be submitted to DHR.

Cricket tournaments are not only held during the weekdays, where it would sometimes run until 6p.m or when it gets dark, but also on Saturdays.

Lolo said it has been the practice over the years that Samoan Affairs personnel oversee and work the Flag Day Cricket tournaments but he suggested to Malemo and Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Mauga T. Asuega to look at utilizing village mayors - who usually work only once or twice a week -  for future cricket tournaments.

Utilizing village mayors is one way to preserve the government’s limited financial resources, said Lolo, who then suggested for Samoan Affairs to also look at utilizing county chiefs, or fa’alupega.

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