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Nominations to fill LBJ Board's vacated seats introduced

A former senator and former ASG Treasurer are the latest appointments made by Gov. Togiola Tulafono to the American Samoa Medical Center board of directors.

Fa’amausili Mau Mau, Jr. and Gaea Perefoti Failautusi's nominations were introduced in the Senate Friday and assigned to the Senate Health/LBJ Hospital Committee for review.

Under local law the five-member LBJ board of directors is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate only.

In his Feb 19 nomination letter, Togiola said Fa’amausili “needs but a scant introduction,” noting  that Fa’amausili had served as a senator “where he gained valuable experience and special knowledge” of the LBJ Medical Center operations. Fa’amausili currently serves as Special Assistant to the Police Commissioner with supervision over the Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV).

“As the at-large member... of the board, I am confident that Fa’amausili will assert himself and ensure that the specific needs of citizens of the territory are always included and addressed in the meetings of the board,” the governor wrote.

Fa’amausili replaces the seat left vacant after last year’s death of board member Tufele Li’amatua.

Togiola touted his other nominee as the man whose findings "were critical to my decision making process as I considered approving the bill that loaned money [$3 million] from the Workmen’s Compensation Fund” to the hospital.

He said the medical center’s “recent financial difficulties evidence the fact that it needs a person with Gaea’s frankness, toughness and fiscal expertise [sic].”  (Gaea and deputy Treasurer Uelinitone Tonumaipea were the governor’s first representatives assigned to review LBJ records before the loan bill was signed.) Gaea currently serves as the ASG Internal Auditor.

Gaea has since been appointed as one of the three members of the Governor’s Committee working with LBJ officials to fully comply with provisions of the loan agreement. The other members include Governor's counsel Tasi Tuiteleleapaga and chair Lt. Gov. Faoa I. Sunia.

He replaces Charles Warren whose term has expired and has been living in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands for more than a year.

LBJ Board members are compensated five thousand dollars per year, except the chairperson, who is paid six thousand dollars per year, by local law. Other members of LBJ's Board are Deputy DOC director Lelei Peau, Dr. Urhle and Chair Moananu Va.