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ALJ rules in favor of ASG for terminating career service teacher

fili@samoanews.com

Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Toetagata Albert Mailo has ruled in favor of the American Samoa Government, who terminated a teacher for misconduct stemming from actions he took against his students.

Fagaitua High School teacher Louie Segi contested his termination by the Department of Education and trial in the matter was held late last year, where Segi was represented by local attorney Mark Ude, while ASG and DOE were represented by Assistant Attorney General Daniel Woods.

The main issues before the tribunal were whether the government followed personnel rules and laws, and if the employer gave sufficient evidence to show misconduct by the employee to prove the termination, according to Toetagata in his Feb. 23 ruling.

“The answers to both questions are ‘yes’,” said Toetagata. “There was substantial evidence to show misconduct by Louie Segi, warranting termination, and the procedure as set forth in the regulations and laws of American Samoa to terminate a career service employee was followed by the American Samoa Government.”

“Mr. Segi... made a practice of writing with a permanent marker on the faces of his non-performing students then taking photos of these students and posting these photos online on his unprotected Facebook page without permission of the students’ parents,” said Toetagata.

According to the ALJ’s ruling, Segi would also add captions to the photos such as “Captain of the testicle movement”; “Lost Student of the year”; “Drug Lord from Aoa last seen Looking for herself”; “Wanted for milking the Neighbor’s cow”; and, “This is what my students look like when they don’t do their assignments”.

“To avoid this punishment, students were invited to pay Mr. Segi a dollar,” said Toetagata.

The ALJ also outlined provisions of laws and regulations governing ASG career service employees and the procedures that the government follows when it comes to terminating an employee.

For example, employees in the career service may be demoted, suspended, or removed for below standard job performance, misconduct on the job, misconduct off the job which reflects adversely on the government, conviction of a felony, being sentenced to prison for 30 days or more upon conviction of a crime or violation of standards established administratively which govern employee conduct and deportment, including but not limited to proper use, and penalty for misuse of government property.

ORDER

Based on the foregoing findings of fact and conclusions of law of ASG presented to the tribunal, this tribunal finds and concludes that the American Samoa Government followed the proper procedures to terminate Mr. Segi as set forth in the Personnel Rules and laws of American Samoa, said Toetagata in his five-page decision.

Additionally the tribunal also finds and concludes that Segi also committed substantial misconduct to warrant his termination.

Toetagata ordered that Segi is terminated from ASG career service effective five calendar days from the date of the order.



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