Lolo admin claims current Treasurer entitled to payout
“The current Treasurer's situation is different from the (former) directors because he was on a contract which was signed by (former) Governor Togiola,” said Governor’s Executive Assistant, Iulogologo Joseph Pereira in response to Samoa News queries on the $9,000 payout issued to Treasurer Dr Falema’o Phil Pili in September, 2013.
Falema’o told Samoa News his payout was $9,000 when he switched over from the Territorial office of Fiscal Reform (TOFR) to Treasury. Falema’o was Director of TOFR during the last two years of the former administration.
Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga also told Samoa News that Falema’o was entitled to the payout, because it was part of his contract.
Iu elaborated, “The current Treasurer's situation is different from the directors because he was on contract, which was signed by (former) Governor Togiola. So whatever benefits were incorporated in the contract, the Treasurer is entitled to receive them. In this particular case he was eligible for annual leave accumulation and whatever other benefits spelled out in the contract.”
According to Iu, former directors who received payouts did not work on contract.
In an interview with Samoa News in September, Falemao said when he switched over from TOFR, the payout was for his annual and sick leave, and was approved by Deputy Director of Human Resources Eseneiaso Liu as procedurally it went through the HR back in September. Mrs. Liu confirmed with Samoa News the payout was approved because Falema’o was entitled to it.
In the meantime, Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga has sought from the Attorney General’s office a legal opinion following recommendations from the Senate Government Operations Committee for “further investigation” into payouts to political appointees and elected officials from the previous administration, possibly to recoup any taxpayer funds expended for the payments. Read more in Tuesday’s edition for the full story.
The Lolo Administration has already made public that of the $1.04 million in payouts, more than $500,000 was not budgeted in fiscal year 2013. The largest payouts were in the governor’s office, with $372,505 worth of checks issued, according to the report, which appears to be dated Jan. 28, 2013.
Payouts to former cabinet members, contract workers as well as the governor and lieutenant governor surfaced by accident during last September’s FY 2013 budget hearing for the Feleti Barstow Public Library and prompted lawmakers to question then Budget and Planning Office director Malemo Tausaga and director of Human Resources Evelyn Vaitautolu Langford.
According to the payout report, Togiola’s gross total for the payout was $43,817; for Faoa, his gross amount was $39,789. Two other large payouts came out of the Governor’s Office: Motu Laau Seui Jr — Togiola’s deputy chief of staff — took home $31,401 and Faalepo Faalepo, who headed the ASG office in Honolulu, had a take home check of $28,047.
The largest former cabinet member payout was to Soliai Tuipeni — who was the territory’s Chief Election Officer and is now a Senator. His final take home pay came to $50,552.
According to the payout report, only 12 former employees — including Soliai — received comp-time pay but none of the other 11 employees came close to getting paid what Soliai was claimed in comp time, which was over 300 hours.
The largest payout per department was at the Department of Education, whose acting director was Faoa, while Dr. Jacinta Galeai was the director-designee and paid under the Governor’s Office with a final check of $13,479.
For DOE, the "gross" amount came to $52,675 and total payout was $44,359 covering three employees. Among them was Ioane Saelua, who Samoa News understands is Lolo's current chief of staff and former campaign manager — his take home payout was for $21,667; and Sally S. Faumuina, the current secretary to Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga, with a final check of $18,266, according to the report.
Here is a quick look at other former directors and their final payouts according to the amount of the check issued, as per the payout report:
Ufagafa R. Tulafono - $17,387
Pese Atiulagi - $19,358
Tuaolo M. Fruean - $21,342
Fepuleai A. Ripley - $19,555
Reupena Tagaloa - $14,695
Ivy Taufa’asau - $6,772
Taeaotui Punaofo Tilei - $17,592
Leiataua Leuga Turner - $13,452
Semo Ve’ave’a Jr. - $18,951
Dr. Toafa Vaiagae - $20,279
Fa’afetai Ialiva - $8,669
Paolo Sivia Sivia - $14,367
Uta Dr. Laloulu Tagoilelagi - $8,001
Mike Sala - $12,678
Leilua Stevenson - $7,618
Matagi Raymond McMoore - $19,005
Lealao Melila Purcell - $3,505