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Dear Editor,

Good heavens. I just read the article about the proposed bill which seeks to increase the salaries of the members of the Senate and House. Is this some kind of joke?

Here is a body of government who only works a total of 90 days a year (two 45-day sessions). How can they justify such an increase?? And I wonder what their other benefits are that come with such an exalted position.

According to the article published about the budget for their esteemed position one can only wonder.

Jobs that don't exist such as cooks, and other attendants that just don't exist, except on paper, not to mention as the article states they are provided with office expense allowances, and yet they are not required to even show what those expenses are.

How on earth can this be?? This same group of leaders have made a concerted and successful effort to keep the minimum wage at the level it is now... for the good of the people of Am.Samoa.

Gosh we can't allow the pay to increase as the cannery may just shut down and leave the island. Well that is all baloney. What keeps the cannery here is one thing only, the product they produce is 'Made in America'.

Americans look to buy and support products that are made by American companies. Plain and simple!! What arrogance and greed these 'leaders' show us common folk by asking for such an increase. Have they no shame? Apparently not!

Perhaps last year’s new full size pick up needs to be upgraded to this year's model. You know the one's with a V-8 engine, four door full size cab, and all the other amenities!! 

I can only hope that the public once again will protest this absurd attempt to reap that which our leaders have not shown good cause to ask for. There is no reason given by the fono members as to why such an increase is even warranted.

How about it — could one of any of you please explain how and why such an increase is justified? Here is a thought, just increase the allowances that you don't have to account for, and pad your already bloated salaries.

John Engle

(Editor’s Note: The increase in allowances will still need to be passed into law… and an increase is an increase, and certainly not affordable, as the Territory has new bonds to pay, whether we like it or not — that’s a debt service of $12million vs. $2million from 4 years ago (according to Rep. Sanitoa).

Bottom line: The Fono passed the statute allowing the government to float bonds without coming to the Fono for permission! So they are the ones that gave the gov’t the right to use local funds to pay for a mind boggling debt service — the same funds that could have been used to pay for their increase in salaries/ allowances or other more worthy expenses such as for healthcare and education.

So — rather than a pay raise — here’s a novel idea — how about the Fono legislators (reps & senators) and government ‘leaders’ (cabinet) take pay cuts?

That way, they can point to their own real sacrifice for the good of the community/ economy… and tell us all to just ‘shut up’… and ‘eat it’… GONG! ra)