Cabinet reminded in final year of Lolo Admin to comply with regs & policies
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — With the start of a new year - the final year for the Lolo Administration - Human Resources (DHR) director Eseneiaso Liu reminds cabinet members of complying with longstanding regulations and policies.
In a Jan. 2, 2020 memo, Liu wrote that consistent with “our statutory mandate” and the governor’s directives, “we have taken bold steps to improve our services to line agencies and changes necessary” to serve the people.
“As the appointed authority for recruitment, retention and training of government employees, we beseech … you of the following areas related to workforce management where ‘continuity and teamwork is key to our success’,” she wrote.
COST CONTAINMENT AND AFTER HOUR VEHICLE POLICY
Cabinet directors were informed that the governor’s July 26, 2014 declaration, regarding cost containment measures issued from the onset of the Lolo Administration on Jan. 3, 2013 “are reaffirmed”.
In conjunction with Commissioner of Public Safety and the ASG Road Marshals, the enforcement of the after-hour vehicle policy serves to control fuel costs, the necessity of service otherwise not available through the public sector and most importantly employee safety.
Liu emphasized that directors who fail to conform to this directive’s parameters will bear sole financial responsibility for impounded vehicles and disciplinary actions for employee(s) involved, with severe consequences for any employee, regardless of classification, who operates a government vehicle without the required official permit, valid driver’s license, or listed on the exemption list provided daily by the Governor’s Office.
Directors are reminded of the standing directive that all requests for overtime require pre-approval of the governor. Liu “strongly encouraged” directors to curtail overtime with the exception of emergency situations from natural or man-made disasters.
“Proper scheduling of employees’ time will avoid overtime from being incurred,” she said and noted that authorized overtime payment will be processed and paid in accordance with rules and regulations.
Liu explained that all personnel actions that involve recruitment, retention, position reclassification, interagency transfer or alike, originates with direct consultation and approval of the DHR director.
Directors were reminded that as an equal employer, “please prohibit the practice of pre-selecting candidate names” on Certification Request — under form 35 and form 48 — which are submitted to DHR.
Regarding contract renewals and extensions, Liu said it’s her office’s responsibility to evaluate and assess these, once the agency submits a formal notice for proposed action. Submitted correspondence that fails to meet these criteria will be returned to the originating agency for corrective action.
EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE EVALUATION (EPER)
“To date, the Governor [has] authorized the process of annual step-increment for employees based on a satisfactory performance review,” she explained.
In accordance with provision of the American Samoa Administrative Code (ASAC), “Ninety days prior to each employee’s step-increment due date, a notice will be sent to the employee, the department head, and immediate supervisor. This notice will call for the submission of an annual employee performance evaluation which must be completed and returned” to DHR.
She explained that the submission allows the government to measure employee performance against their position duties and responsibilities. In additional, its consideration will assist with disciplinary hearings that involve reprimand, suspension and/or termination of an employee.
Liu explained that provision of the ASAC says Detail Appointments are primarily intended for meeting temporary needs of the agency that cannot be obtained by more desirable or practical means. Agencies are responsible for keeping detail appointments within the shortage practicable time limits and for making a continuing effort to secure necessary services through use of appropriate personnel actions.
The appointment, according to Liu, shall be from among employees who are interested and available to accept such appointments.
She said an employee who accepts a detail appointment for 30 calendar days or more to a higher grade position shall be paid according to promotional rules. “Any employee accepting a detail for less than 30 calendar days shall retain his/her current salary,” she added.
Following the term expiration of the detail appointment, the employee shall be reverted back to his/her original position and grade appointment.
LATERAL AND INTERAGENCY TRANSFER
Liu said the memo serves as a friendly reminder that any transfer or reassignment of an employee from one position to another in the same or another class between agencies requires the DHR director’s approval.
The personnel registrar maintained by DHR requires full accountability of the employee, the assigned agency, and the position title with employment benefits. DHR “strongly discourages” directors or agency heads from unilaterally transferring employees within agencies without approval of the DHR director.