Lolo reaffirms OT policy

Calling it a “serious issue” for all directors, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga at last week’s cabinet meeting reiterated — overtime is allowed as long as justification is provided to his office for approval, after going through the process of clearance with the Department of Human Resources and the Office of Budget and Planning.

 

“We have provided sufficient manpower to keep down over time,” said Lolo and this has been done to agencies such as Customs and Immigration by hiring additional personnel “so there is no reason why people should incur overtime.”

 

“You are given the resources to work with, so make good use of it,” he said. “I know some of you are still rendering opinions on the issue [but] the only opinion I listen to is the [one] issued by the Attorney General.”

 

“Your opinion doesn't matter,” he said to laughter from directors.

 

Lolo reminded directors the administration from the beginning has made the stand of 'no overtime' and if it is necessary to employ more people, to do so — after getting proper authorization from DHR.

 

“Give our other people a chance to get employment, instead of us filing overtime, benefiting a few— while there are so many young people looking for jobs,” he said.

 

He said directors allowing employees to work overtime without prior approval is a “violation of a lot of things”,  but he didn’t elaborate further.

 

DHR director Sonny Thompson told the cabinet meeting that his enforcement of the “no overtime” policy as well as other issues dealing with government personnel have strained relations between himself and fellow cabinet directors.

 

“Work with us, let us do our job to help you. Don’t run to the governor,” he said, but quickly added, “Well, you can [run to the governor]” who has the authority on these issues.

 

However, what has happened is that “our relationship — you and I — it’s getting to be, no relationship at all,” the DHR director said to giggles from the meeting.

 

“When you see me, you avoid me. When I send you an e-mail, it’s either you send me a ‘smart’ response, or you don’t. Well, I got to do what I got to do.”

 

“Because in the long run — four years from now — you will be proud of what we’re trying to do,” he noted.

 

BACKGROUND

 

Last month, October, Samoa News reported on certain Treasury Department employees being paid overtime, after it was approved only by the Treasurer — the OT was never routed through the DHR, as mandated by the governor. This triggered an investigation by DHR.

 

Treasurer Dr. Falema’o Phil Pili in responding to Samoa News questions regarding the OT said he welcomed the investigation by the Department of Human Resources (DHR), on the overtime paid to senior employees of the Department of Treasury.

 

Falema’o said, in January of 2013, Governor Lolo Moliga gave him a mandate to carry out and "as he reports directly to the Governor, he set about a plan to carry out the mandate.”

 

According to the Treasurer, with the Governor’s approval he authorized overtime for several employees in the Department of Treasury, not just four senior staff members. He added that whatever they were paid in overtime "could not begin to compensate" all of them for their personal sacrifice by working late throughout many nights and weekends to help carry out the governor's mandate.

 

The Treasurer further stated that each ASG director has a designated budget to work with — and "we are not subservient to the HR in any way."

 

"My direction comes from Governor Moliga — the overtime issue is between me and the Governor," he had stated.

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