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Removal of DPW employee raises lots of eyebrows

American Samoa Executive Office Building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Per Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s orders, a longtime employee of the Department of Public Works was stripped of his job last month.

Luki Tuitasi was formerly a special assistant to the director of Public Works.

His job included overseeing work administered by the Governor’s Office, under Special Programs, as well as emergency jobs in both Tutuila and Manu’a.

Most recently, Samoa News caught up to him at the site of the Jean P. Hayden Museum in Fagatogo, where he was supervising a DPW crew tasked with constructing the museum extension.

 (The Museum is one of two projects set to be dedicated later this month, Aug. 30th, during the 6th Annual Workforce Day celebration at the Fagatogo Malae, organized by ASG.)

Last week, Samoa News spoke to several Public Works employees who confirmed Tuitasi’s removal. All of them appeared confused. “Luki always did what he was told,” one employee said. “DPW lost a good man,” said another.

One ASG official said she wants to understand if this is how it’s going to be now. “If the governor doesn’t think you’re performing up to par, he’ll just come in and fire you? Then why do we have managers, supervisors, and directors? It makes no sense. One person shouldn’t have this much power,” she said.

Samoa News efforts to obtain a comment from DPW director Faleosina Faiai Voight were unsuccessful as of press time yesterday; but according to a reliable source, Governor Lolo had indicated his dissatisfaction with Tuitasi’s performance, claiming that there were projects under Tuitasi’s watch that he failed to see through.

Onlookers are questioning the motive, however. Some argue that if Tuitasi was such a bad employee, why then would he be hired to work as part of the Lt. Governor’s team?

(Samoa News understands that Tuitasi is being picked up as the newest addition to Lemanu’s staff).