ASG News Briefs
DAS ACTING DIRECTOR SAYS EOB IS GETTING OLDER AND NEEDS MAJOR REPAIRS
Acting Director of the Department of Administrative Services Eliki Afalava says that the A.P Lutali Executive Office Building in Utulei is "getting older and needs major repairs to many parts of the building." Afalava's comments were noted in his department's first quarter performance report for fiscal year 2013, and copies were forwarded to Governor Lolo Moliga and members of the Legislature.
The Department of Administrative Services oversees eight sub-divisions, including the maintenance and security of the EOB, the Print Shop, and the Office of Archives and Records Management in Tafuna.
According to Afalava, all projects paid for by funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for the Director's Office (housed in the EOB) are now near complete, except for the re-roofing project which is 100% complete.
Work on the Print Shop and the Office of Archives and Records Management are also complete. But the exhaust is not working properly in the Print Shop's new building; and the dark room that is needed for other printing jobs is not stationed properly. In addition, the roof still leaks at the Archives and Records Office, and more shelves are needed and the microfilm reader has not yet arrived. Afalava says this office needs office furniture and storage boxes to replace the old and damaged ones.
Both the Print Shop and the Archives and Records Management Office were in the black after the first quarter of FY2013, and nowhere in the report does it state that the problems listed cannot be addressed due to the lack of adequate funding.
Right now, the only other project for the EOB that is ongoing and 75% completed is the installation of the three elevators. The elevator project is funded under the local EOB Special Programs Account. Crew members from Queensland are expected to have the Governor and Lt. Governor’s elevator in operation soon and install the last elevator to complete the project. The elevator project should be completed during the second quarter.
Afalava reports that while the EOB maintenance crew members worked hard in answering trouble calls from the various agencies regarding the building during the first quarter, but the building is getting older and in need of major repairs. Impediments noted in the performance report include the lack of ample parking spaces and the need for monitoring equipment (cameras) in the emergency stairwells. In addition, the report states that elevators need close maintenance and care, and training is necessary to address issues like what to do when the elevator gets stuck.
On a brighter note, renovations and upgrades to the EOB bathrooms are complete and changes to all light bulbs and electrical needs of the building are in process.
The Print Shop collected revenues of $47,471.16 during the first quarter of FY2013. During this time, the Print Shop received 106 requests for printing and rubber stamps. One hundred jobs have been completed while six more are still in process due to large orders. Their first quarter budget was $79,800 and after spending $65,211.54 they were left with a balance of $14,138.33
The Office of Archives and Records Management had a first quarter budget of $35,625 with expenditures amounting to $22,318.33 leaving a balance of $13,306.67
The EOB had a balance after the first quarter of $9,493.44, with $25,606.56 spent in expenses.
DOE SAYS ‘REPORT CARDS’ VITAL IN KNOWING WHERE WE STAND AS A COMMUNITY
The first School Report Cards and Territorial Report Cards prepared by the local Department of Education will soon to accessible to everyone.
In its First Quarter Performance Report for Fiscal Year 2013, the local Department of Education states that it is a requirement for the community to be aware of the student’s achievements and progress in order to track the successes of both students and teachers.
The report was prepared by Russ Aab, Deputy Director of Finance and Administration for the Department of Education, and submitted to the Acting Director of the Office of Planning and Budget Catherine Saelua.
According to the report, the DOE’s Office of Curricular and Instructional Services (OCIA), in collaboration with other divisions such as Chancery (data) and Testing were able to provide the first school report cards. The report cards are the grades given to each individual school (School Report Cards) as well as a Territorial Report Card (overall rating of all schools) in order to ensure that accountability and transparency of the students, teachers, and DOE are published for public information.
“The inception of having a School Report Card and Territorial Report Card is not only vital for projected goals, but it is also the basis of literally knowing where we stand as a community,” the report states. The report cards, which include the Special Education students, will be accessible to everyone.
DOE says that current data scores for elementary and secondary levels have been submitted and are being assessed for posting. Meanwhile, the department continues to collaborate with the various divisions to assess the scores and update the report cards.
For now, DOE’s Chancery staff continues to assist in the acquisition and configuration of the Accountability Report Cards as well as securing data by backing them up on a daily basis.
The Department of Education consists of 23 elementary schools, 6 secondary schools, and 24 early Childhood Education (ECE) centers and Special Education programs. The department serves over 14,150 students from grades K-12 and currently has a workforce of over 1,800 people.
DYWA CONTINUES TO OFFER PROGRAMS FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS
Grant funding continues to provide much needed financial assistance for programs administered by the Department of Youth and Women's Affairs for victims of domestic violence, according to DYWA Acting Director Pa'u Roy Ausage, who also said in his FY2013 first quarter performance report that some of the problems facing his office include the lack of funds to implement numerous projects for youth and women, and the lack of professionals and paraprofessionals such as grant writers to search for and write grant proposals.
The first quarter report stated that last year, funds from the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grant administered by the Criminal Justice and Planning Agency (CJPA) paid for the training of ten employees, who were victims of domestic violence, and for skills training for women and men who were also considered victims of domestic violence. The training included sewing and pillow case embroidery, weaving and restoration of fine mats and laufala processing.
The 9th sewing session of the Lalaga Faatasi sewing program closed on Dec. 10, 2012 after thirteen weeks of training. The sewing class commenced on August 31, 2012 at the DYWA office with 40 participants and was officially closed during a brief ceremony on Dec. 10, 2012. At the end of the program, 39 participants graduated and received certificates of completion.
The Lalaga Faatasi sewing project was also held at the Territorial Correctional Facility for women inmates every Monday from 8am-4pm under the direction of trainer Ms. Soonaalofa Roberts and the supervision of TCF female police guards. This program was officially closed on Dec. 3, 2012.
Meanwhile, VAWA money continues to fund a full time program coordinator, a full time assistant coordinator to coordinate programs addressing domestic violence, and eight short term contract employees, who were previously paid with funds from the National Emergency Grant (NEG) program and the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).
The seven females and the lone male who comprise the fale lalaga continue to maintain pandanus plantations, process laufala for fine mat weaving and restoration, weave and make fala tui, process and weave 'afa, and make 'ie sae at the Department of Agriculture Samoan fale. Some of them were also mobilized to work on a voluntary basis in the operation and management of the Mapusaga Emergency Homeless Shelter.
American Samoa received funding of $81,807 for Program Year 2011 from the USHUD to assist with the operation of the Mapusaga Emergency Homeless Shelter (MEHS). The Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs continues to operate and manage the shelter located at the Tafuna Industrial Park. During the first quarter of fiscal year 2013, three families were housed at the MEHS. A family of two, a family of four, and a family of one — a total of seven individuals. The grant also helped one family by providing financial assistance to help pay for their rental and utility charges.
In addition to the MEHS, the ESG (Emergency Solutions Grant) Program also funded another component called Homeless Prevention. Under the program, one local household received financial assistance to pay for the cost of rent and utilities.