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Senate resolution calls for hearing on Lemanu’s pay and job conversion roll backs

Senator Malaepule Saite Moliga
“The concern is that this memo is retaliatory in nature”

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Through a Senate Resolution, Sen. Malaepule Saite Moliga, is calling for a hearing to review Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga’s Feb. 5th memorandum, which orders the roll-back of pay adjustments made without justification in the budget as well as converting contract workers to career service employees without going through the merit process — since Jan. 1, 2019 to the present.

According to the resolution — sponsored by the Manu’a senator and introduced this week in the Senate — the governor’s memo has caused great concern to the ASG workforce and that many employees have reached out to the senators seeking relief.

The memo — which is summarized in the resolution — “has already been implemented against hardworking ASG employees.”

Additionally, the Senate is also concerned about how this memo will have a negative impact on many ASG employees who were granted salary adjustments and conversions from contract to career service status based on merit.

Furthermore, many ASG employees have earned their adjustments and conversions legitimately. “They are breadwinners of their homes and families. They contribute to their extended families and churches. They depend on their salaries,” the resolution says.

“These same ASG employees are concerned this memo will only be implemented against those who did not support the current administration in the last election,” the resolution claims. “The concern is that this memo is retaliatory in nature.”

The Senate is also concerned that the Fono has just passed the government’s fiscal year 2021 budget which should have already had all of these budgeted salaries and positions, yet these employees are being told they are going to have their salaries rolled-back.

Despite all of these concerns and the stance of the governor’s memo, the resolution clams that “ASG continues to hire more employees into positions that already have employees in them.”

The resolution requests a “stay on the roll-back” and calls for a hearing — to be held soon — and the witnesses requested are the governor’s chief of staff, Tuimavave Tauapa’i Laupola, Human Resources director Lynn Pulou-Alaimalo and Budget Office director Catherine Saelua.

Before the hearing is set, the witnesses are to submit a list of ASG employees affected by the governor’s roll back memo and a list of all new ASG employees or employees who have moved into a new position since the current administration has taken office — including a reason why the governor’s memo does not apply to these employees.