UPDATE: Governor appoints new ASPA board
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has appointed a new board of directors for the American Samoa Power Authority, which addresses a long standing concern by lawmakers that a majority of the past board were continuing to serve on expired term limits, while their names were not resubmitted — nor were new names submitted — for Fono confirmation.
Lolo’s memo dated Monday appoints Perelini Perelini, a former ASPA chief operations officer, as board chairman until such time as he is confirmed by the Fono, or his recess appointment expires. The first regular session of the 33rd Legislature officially opens next Monday.
In the same memo, Lolo appointed the other four members of the board, all of them long time residents of the territory. The members, also subject to Fono confirmation are: Peter Crispin, Isabel Steffany Hudson, Daniel King and Va’a Sokelati Fala — who is the only reappointed board member from the previous board, that had been under the leadership of Asaua Fuimaono. (Va’a joined the board close to five years ago).
“I am confident that these members of the board possess the requisite skills and experience necessary to advance the work of the American Samoa Power Authority and to alleviate the high cost of utility services in American Samoa,” said Lolo in his memo, which asked everyone in government for their support as the board “commence this important work and move ASPA forward.”
Local law calls for a five-member ASPA board, which is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Fono for a four-year term. The law states that at least two members shall be experienced in the management of electric utilities, at least one have a financial background and at least one have a legal background. No fewer than two members shall be from outside American Samoa.
Additionally, recess appointments expire at the conclusion of the next following regular or special session of the Legislature if they are not confirmed during that session. Incumbents may continue to serve after the expiration of a term until a successor is appointed and confirmed.
Moreover, the governor designates the chairman annually from among the membership of the board, who selects its vice-chairman. According to the statute, compensation rate for each board member per year is $5,000 and the chairman is at $6,000 annually. Travel, lodging and meal expenses will be provided for off-island directors.
Of the appointees, Perelini is seen to serve under two hats: that as an off-island board member and having experience in the management of electric utilities.
Perelini had been terminated by the previous ASPA board in 2006, after some 20 years with ASPA and 10 of those years as COO, under the leadership of former ASPA chief executive officer Utu Abe Malae, according to Samoa News achives, which used Perelini’s chiefly title of Fonoti at the time.
After Utu left ASPA to join the Development Bank of American Samoa in the latter part of 2004, there was a vacancy in the CEO post and Perelini was among the six applicants for the job. He ended up instead, being terminated from his COO position, as well as being denied the CEO post.
Upon leaving ASPA, Perelini — who holds an engineering degree — joined his son’s engineer consulting firm, which has offices in American Samoa and neighboring Samoa. He was hired as a consultant for a project in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and later move to Samoa as he was also on contract in Samoa for utility issues. In March of 2009, he became president of the Institution of Professional Engineers of Samoa (IPES).
Another appointee wearing more that one hat on the board is Daniel King. King is a member of the American Samoa Bar Association, a Certified Public Accountant and is Chairman of the American Samoa Board of Public Accountancy. He resides both on and off-island in Hilo, Hawai’i. He is married to a Samoan, Dorothy Potasi of Ofu, Manu’a and has business offices in American Samoa.
For the previous board and for many years now, the off-island members were Norman Okamura and Steve Felt.
Crispin and Steffany Hudson are long time members of the local business community.
Crispin is one of the owners of Tool Shop, Inc. and Samoa Gases, while Steffany Hudson is the local manager of Hamburg Sud and owns with husband, Dean Hudson (local manager of Fletcher Construction) Sina o Moana, a local hotel resort.
The only member left from the old ASPA board, little is known of Va’a Sokelati Fala. However, as the only one with board ‘experience’, it’s quite possible he answers the need for at least two members of the board to be experienced in the management of electric utilities.
Samoa News understands the first board meeting will be this Friday, where among the many issues to be reviewed will be the board member requirements as stated under statute.
Also on Monday, the governor issued a new memo to clarify that Liua Fatuesi has been appointed as acting director for the Territorial Audit Office until a permanent director is appointed and confirmed by the Fono.
The governor’s memo issued late last week, appointing acting directors for executive branch departments and offices, said that the acting director for TAO was Francis Sefo.
In another appointment made Monday, the governor said Toleafoa Henry Tavake is acting director of the ASG Sport Complex office, which is under the jurisdiction of the Governor’s Office. The head of the Sport Complex office, which oversees ASG facilities such as the Lee Auditorium, Veterans Memorial Stadium and the Iliili Golf Course, is not subject to Fono confirmation.