Cabinet meeting touches on budget threshold, Manu'a services, and roles of directors
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The fiscal year 2020 budget call-letter will be going out soon from the Office of Program Planning and Budget, and the ceiling threshold will be set at the current FY 2019 approved budget - which is just over $400 million.
The ceiling for the proposed FY 2020 budget, which officially begins Oct. 1, 2019, was announced briefly on Tuesday by Budget Office deputy director Aukuso Satia, during a cabinet meeting which was tape delayed and aired Tuesday evening on KVZK-TV.
Satia said cabinet members would set up their budget proposals in accordance with their FY 2019 ceiling and to remember issues such as personnel and “fixed costs”.
Lt. Gov. Lemanu Sialega Palepoi Mauga, who is acting governor, said cabinet members are fully aware of the budget call process as the administration has gone through it for the past 7 budget years.
He asked that cabinet members submit their budget proposals as soon as possible so the Administration can submit the final FY 2020 to the Fono before lawmakers convene in July for the second regular session.
Lemanu touched on the governor’s health, saying they communicated on Monday, and Lolo sends his regards and he is doing well and recovering.
He said Lolo will be coming home soon, but added that there’s no firm date yet.
DIRECTOR HAS RIGHT TO ENFORCE ALL LAWS
Lemanu asked directors to abide by set Administration regulations pertaining to the use of ASG vehicles after hours, and getting a pass from the Governor’s chief of staff.
The acting governor shared with cabinet members, the right a director has in enforcing laws. He said directors have the same rights in such matters, like himself and the governor. He said if a cabinet member witnesses other departments doing something wrong, they should do something to stop it, instead of ignoring it.
“Don’t think that there is a director of that department and so, let that director deal with it,” he said, noting for example, that if a cabinet member is at the airport and witnesses something wrong in how work is being done by Customs, Immigration and all other agencies at the airport, “talk to them, that is your duty and right as a director.”
And if directors drive along the road and see students fighting, stop the car and lend assistance instead of driving around it, thinking it should be left to the police. According to the Lemanu, there is no one else in government that has a better understanding of the law than directors, along with himself and the governor.
Lemanu was in Manu’a last week and said there’s a big change there. He requested cabinet members to make plans for a site visit to Manu’a, if they haven't visited their offices there lately.
He said the government should continue to provide services for the people there, no matter how many people reside in Manu’a.
He also suggested using Manu’a as a place to hold a conference, instead of Samoa.
DRUG AND ALCOHOL POLICY
The Dept. of Human Resources presented on the ASG drug and alcohol law, which was signed by the governor last October. (See press release for more details.)
Lemanu asked all cabinet members to voluntarily go through drug and alcohol testing, prior to the next cabinet meeting, which is sometime next month.
“Take the lead,” he said.