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Lt. Gov. explains local vs. off island contract hires

Lt. Gov. Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — During a recent cabinet meeting, Lt. Gov. Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga explained the difference between local and off island hires (contract workers), and said the issue has involved many discussions within the Administration and legal advice from government attorneys.

“For me, my knowledge and understanding of local hire, [it] means the person is hired here — Tutuila, Manu’a islands, Aunu’u and Swains — [and] the person is living in American Samoa,” he said. An off island hire is someone brought in from outside of American Samoa.

He said off island hire happens when there is no one in American Samoa qualified to carry out the job.

Once the off island worker’s contract is up, that person returns to where they came from, said Lemanu, adding that contracts are usually either two or four years, and a contract can be renewed if the director wants. But before that happens, the off island worker must return to his/ her homeland — once the contract expires.

Once that person is re-hired, under a renewed contract, they can return to the territory. “That is an off island hire,” he said, adding that if a person is still here and is re-hired, that is considered a local hire.

And, he said, once a person in American Samoa is identified as being able to do the job, then the contract ends and the son/ daughter of American Samoa is hired.