Current cabinet directors expected to all submit resignations by late next week
Cabinet directors for the Lolo Administration will have to submit their letters of resignation by late next week, while most deputy directors will take over the leadership role as the administration prepares to transition into a new 4-year term.
Local law requires directors, who are political appointees, to submit resignations before the term ends and prepare for the new term or a new administration to take over. The Lolo Administration, after the incumbent Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga and Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga were re-elected in the Nov. 8 term, will be taking over the ASG leadership reins for the second, consecutive-four year term at 12 noon on Jan. 3, 2017 — after the inauguration ceremony.
Speaking at last Friday’s cabinet meeting, Lolo told directors to submit letters of resignation by Dec.15, in accordance with local statute, and then it “will be up to us... asking some of you to stay beyond the date you’re requesting” to resign; “or we’ll accept some of the resignations as soon as you submit your resignation.”
He says that “will give us time to start reviewing the new administration [for the next four years].”
Lolo reminded during the cabinet meeting that “there is no exception” to submitting resignation letters, adding that directors are political appointees who serve at the pleasure of the governor and lieutenant governor.
“As long as you’re appointed, your appointment comes under our direction and instruction,” Lolo said, adding that resignation for directors, does not include cabinet directors of the semi autonomous agencies as that will be up to the governing board of each respective authority.
The last cabinet meeting for the year is currently scheduled for Dec. 22 and Lolo says that meeting will include deputy directors “because mostly likely they will take over” departments and offices of the Executive Branch during the transition period into the new four-year term.
“So we’re asking you to give your deputy directors the support that they need, during the transition period going forward,” said Lolo, who added that the current four-year term of the administration officially ends before 12-noon on Jan. 3, 2017, which is the time the new four-year term begins.
And although directors will be handing in their letters of resignations, Lolo says there are still ASG activities planned between now and Jan. 3 — including the inauguration ceremony — which directors should still attend.
Acceptance of applications for director positions begins after Dec. 16. Current directors can apply for directorship posts, and the governor is not expected to start making acting director appointments until after Jan. 3.
During his cabinet meeting last month, the governor indicated that all positions would be open to qualified applicants.
The fiscal year 2017 budget includes $1 million for “political appointee’s payout” under the Special Program budget category, overseen by the Governor’s Office. Lolo informed the Fono that at the end of each gubernatorial term, all political appointees, by law, should tender their resignation effective on the first day of the newly elected governor’s administration.
Upon leaving office, the American Samoa government pays these appointees their due annual leave, the governor explained and noted that this fund is solely established for these payouts.