New High Risk Task Force Coordinator hired
Jerome Ierome of Tula and Onenoa is the new coordinator for the American Samoa Government’s High Risk Task Force, said Governor’s Legal Counsel Steve Watson, who chairs the High Risk Task Force.
In March, Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga issued a memo establishing the High Risk Elimination Task Force, whose members are Education Department director Salu Hunkin-Finau, Treasurer Dr. Falema’o ‘Phil’ M. Pili, Human Resources director Le’i Sonny Thompson, Chief Procurement Officer Ti’atalaga John Kruse and Budget Office director Catherine Aigamaua-Saelua, along with the Health Department and the Office of Property Management, and placed Watson as chairman of the task force.
Ierome replaces Joseph James Casey, the former coordinator who was ‘let go’ last month after failing a background check that found misdemeanor and felony convictions.
Ierome graduated from Fagaíitua High School in 1983, and is also a 1987 graduate of the American Samoa Community College. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Loyola University of Chicago, Illinois and a Masters in Education (emphasis in Educational Leadership) from San Diego State University.
According to Ierome’s resume provided by the governor’s office, he brings with him intensive knowledge and experience in federal and state grant opportunities.
Ierome was a former Executive Director of the Criminal Justice Planning Agency (CJPA) of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and was board member of the Advisory Council member of the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) in Washington DC from 2008 to 2012.
Prior to his move to Saipan, Ierome worked as the Youth Advocacy-Counselor, from 1990-1991 for the Department of Human Resources, served as President of Winds of Change, Inc., and established Professional Services Business in 2004, which focuses on grant proposal research, development, management and evaluation.
Ierome was born in the village of Onenoa and raised in Tula. He is the son of Nuuialii Feagaimaali’i Iakopo Ierome and Talatalaga Niu of Tula, from a family of nine siblings. He’s married to Antonia Villagomez, a Chamorro from Saipan and they have a daughter, Hope Lilioaukalani Ierome.
“To improve our financial integrity with federal grantor agencies, it is imperative that we demonstrate our commitment to total adherence to all grant terms and conditions,” Lolo said. However, last week he issued a new memorandum, which now establishes the “High Risk Task Force”, expands its members to include Watson (who is also appointed chairman), the Health Department and the Office of Property Management.
In his March memo, Governor Lolo outlined the many duties the High Risk Coordinator, whose responsibilities include coordinating as needed with relevant agencies to ensure the ongoing compilation of applicable data that must be regularly input to the CAP.
Additionally, he is to gather applicable data from relevant agencies — and as needed — orchestrate the generation of relevant documentation and collate the same for the regular production of timely reports; review and if necessary modify and thereafter oversee strict adherence to Procurement Office policies and procedures (P&Ps) by relevant agencies, ensuring there is sufficient supporting documentation for all goods and services acquired utilizing federal funds and seeing to it that agency efforts to bypass procurement P&Ps do not occur.
His other duties include working with Treasury to reconcile grant monies expended and implement control measures, to both detect and prevent improper postings, expenditures for disallowed costs, and expenditures that exceed the underlying budget.
The coordinator is also to provide training, where indicated, to respective line agency staff regarding allowable expenditures of grant monies and keep them abreast of the progress being made.
He’s also to draft any and all necessary additional policies and procedures and provide training around their implementation, to realize compliance with the CAP and to embed best practices going forward.
Lolo said the Coordinator is to interface as necessary with both the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Interior in order to keep them abreast of the progress being made. (DOI and USDOE are major federal grantors for ASG).