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Dear Editor,


Listening to the radio and reading Samoa News inspired me to write this letter because I love my island and its people.  First, hearing the President of the Senate talking about pay raises for the Fono, what an insult to the people! 


In times like this, the economy is so bad; schools need renovation, hospital needs assistance, roads need fixing, and food stamp is about to limit its amounts. There are so many infrastructure needs to be addressed and taken care of. But, here, the Senate President continues to press on for pay raises.


Forty-five work days a year, not even 8 hours a day or 5 days a week, and yet, they pay themselves for 40 hours of work per week. Is this telling us something about the leaders we now have? Isn’t the pay you now earn plus your additional monthly paycheck enough? Workers get raises when added responsibilities become part of their job description. What responsibilities did we add to the role of a senator?


There is one way to keep the Fono budget down and still give legislators their raise — Go Unicameral! I can see the Fono being One House and fewer people to represent the whole island. For example, the state of Nebraska and the Territory of Guam are unicameral and they have populations much higher than our own.


We need honest leaders, people with integrity to serve the government. What can you give to build the government is the key, not what you can get for doing nothing! Besides, weigh the scale of job interviews. it’s very important to hear qualifications for the job, their capabilities and expertise. There are no interviews and the scale needs to balance with qualifications. In other words, all the people in the Fono need to be interviewed too. They should be interviewed to find out how well they know government procedures, understanding the Constitution and our laws, and business criteria for the Territory.


The Senate represents the high standard of cultural and legislative leaders of our country.  Today in American Samoa, we need those who think highly of ways to help us make more money to meet our infrastructure needs. That is the example, we, the people, are looking to see from our Fono.


Ma le fa’aaloalo lava,


Respectfully yours,

Joan Holland

A Concerned Citizen