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Two LBJ board members move to axe LBJ CEO

Hospital Board members Velega Savali and Faimealelei Anthony Allen did not mince words when informing Samoa News they are moving to remove hospital CEO, Joseph Davis Fleming from his position.


The move came after Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga last week made known his disappointment with actions by the CEO, who was hiring employees with high salaries and was frequently traveling off island — yet the governor’s mandates have not been met.


Outspoken Hospital Board member Velega told Samoa News over the weekend, the governor called an Emergency meeting two Friday’s ago pointing out the hiring practices at the hospital are unacceptable.


That same day, the CEO — after the meeting — moved to re-hire someone who has been criminally charged.


“It appears he does not care nor respect the governor’s wish, yet the governor is right, how can we hire people with high salaries yet there are mandates that are not being met such as the off-island referral program, in order to serve our people,” said Velega.


He further stated it would be a lot of help to our people, once the governor’s mandates on the reduction of the current $20 fee to $10 to see a physician and the recommendation to establish one fee structure for all residents of American Samoa regardless of immigration status are implemented.


In his letter to hospital board last week, the governor pointed out the hospital’s personnel costs are $8 million higher than the previous year, indicating there hasn’t been any genuine effort to reduce these costs or the overall cost of operations.


Lolo also stated that he called an emergency meeting with the hospital board, following requests from members of the public seeking the governor’s assistance to secure airfares for three critically ill patients that the Off-Island Medical Committee had approved for travel.


He said its disconcerting to him that he’s told the patients they not only had to finance their airfares but they also had to shoulder the full cost of their off island medical care, and while patients scrounged for airfares, the hospital CEO is frequently traveling off island. He said this is not an acceptable scenario especially when the FY 2014 is $17million greater than the FY2013 Budget.


“I am very disappointed to say that many deliverables were not accomplished,” he noted.


Faimealelei echoed sentiments by Velega that the territory is in dire need of a hospital CEO who has a heart for the people and is not always traveling, yet there are numerous problems faced by the hospital that should be dealt with. He stated the hospital board recently implemented its new Reorganization and Reclassification Initiative, which is supposed to reduce the hospital’s personnel costs, however the CEO keeps on hiring people with high salaries.


Velega noted the CEO succeeded in hiring the son of a hospital board member, but his attempt to hire the daughter was unsuccessful. “He also hired on the spot a woman from the DOH and then demanded that this woman travel with him on the same day, yet the hiring process wasn’t complete.”


He said, “His action bypassing all of the Human Resources policies in place is unacceptable, and I plan to bring this up when the hospital board meets again this week, because these types of actions are not fit for a CEO.”


Lolo told the hospital board last week he finds it very disturbing the hiring practices used by the CEO, which directly contradict the board’s attempt to contain costs. For example, when the CEO hired three people to do the job that can be done by one person and the assigned salaries are very high, the governor noted.


Efforts to obtain comments from the hospital CEO and hospital board Chairman Mase Akapo and Vice Chairman Victor Tofaeono were not returned immediately returned.