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OIA Asst Sec Babauta facing allegations of misconduct

KOROR, Palau (Oceania TV) ---- U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs, Tony Babauta, who is responsible for overseeing the Pacific Island region, including Palau, the Federated States, the Marshall Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (CNMI) has been placed on administrative leave. 

Pacific Daily News is reporting that he is being investigated over allegations of misconduct that involve his travel expenses and the procurement of a grant awarded by his office.  The federal investigation will be conducted by the Inspector General. Details of the investigation are thus far scarce.

Babauta is a native of Guam and is currently the highest ranking native Pacific Islander serving in the U.S. government.

According to DOI’s 2011 human resources handbook, administrative leave does not constitute an adverse action per se; however, placing an employee on administrative leave is done only “in the most exceptional situations . . . when all other options are considered imprudent.”