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Lawmakers query role of Sports Commissioner under DYWA budget

Position pays $45K annually
fili@samoanews.com

Among the ten employees listed in the fiscal year 2014 budget for the Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs (DYWA) is the position of ‘Sports Commissioner’ with a salary of $45,000.
 
This prompted questions from Sen. Galeai Tu’ufuli during the DWYA’s budget hearing last week, where ASG Budget and Planning Office director Catherine Aigamaua-Saelua was the witness for the department.
 
The Fono joint budget committee agreed to have Aigamaua-Saelua answer budget questions since she is well versed on the budget document and it’s her office that prepared the ASG budget. The Fono had also made it clear that its rules require only a director to appear during budget hearings. (Gov. Lolo’s appointment of Pa’u Roy Taito Ausage as DYWA director was twice rejected by the Fono).
 
Galeai wanted to know who is employed as Sports Commissioner with such as high salary of $45,000 and Aigamaua-Saelua responded that it’s Ethan Lake.  According to Galeai these types of jobs in government should be advertised to allow everyone to apply for the position.
 
The senator asked about the job description for the Sports Commissioner but Joint Budget Committee co-chairman Sen. Laolagi F.S. Vaeao said Aigamaua-Saelua does not have the answer to specific questions but noted that this issue can be clarified later by the administration.
 
When asked about this new post in the executive branch, the governor’s executive assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira told Samoa News the Sports Commissioner “is a political appointee charged with the responsibility to advance the governor's vision... which maximizes the development of opportunities for our children through sports.
 
“This is one of the Governor's initiatives dedicated to advance the status of our youth, elevating the importance of their status in the  priorities of the administration,” Iulogologo said Friday.
 
The governor is convinced that through aggressive and well-coordinated development of sporting activities in the Territory, inherent benefits such as post secondary educational access through athletic scholarships, reduction of obesity among children, increasing national pride by effective representation in national games, and healthier living among the residents of American Samoa will be realized,” he said.
 
Moreover, the governor “established as the mission of this initiative to collaborate  on the  development of a sporting pathway that will foster the increase in the number of students accessing post-secondary educational opportunities, reduce the incidence of obesity among our young population, improve our standing in national competitions, and promote healthier living among the residents of American Samoa.”
 
The governor has also set goals for the commissioner and among them is to collaborate with oversight agencies and community organizations to:
 
•            cultivate the natural, raw, physical talents in our youth along with instilling a strong academic foundation through our local school system to open opportunities for them to further their education; and
 
•            develop a healthy, disciplined, united and productive society through greater participation in sports and physical recreation by all members of the society. In this regard, special opportunities are to be made available to children, young people, women, girls, senior citizens and the specially challenged.
 
Additionally, collaborate with the oversight government agencies to actively encourage the  establishment of Physical Education Programs at all educational levels  and to foster the sport development phase of these programs through the education  system.
 
Moreover, work with the oversight agencies and the local National Olympic Committee to strive to attain excellence at the highest level of sporting competition, develop national pride, patriotism and enhance goodwill among nations.
 
The commissioner is to “promote American Samoa as a hub of sporting activities and by so doing, position the country as a preferred destination for international sports event.”



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