Four more names on the table for Admin cabinet

fili@samoanews.com

Former Deputy Police Commissioner Filifa’atali Michael Fuiava has been designated Acting Director of the Agriculture Department, according to Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s latest cabinet appointments, which includes re-appointment of previous directors from the last four years for three other ASG departments.

AGRICULTURE DIRECTOR POST

“Pending nomination and confirmation” by the Fono, Filifa’atali has been designated as Acting DOA Director and he will serve in this post effective Jan. 9, today, according to the governor’s memo released last Friday afternoon.

Filifa’atali is the current chairman of the LBJ Medical Center board of directors and Samoa News understands that he will be stepping down from the board because of his new appointment.

Filifa’atali served as Deputy Police Commissioner in the past and is currently president of the start-up airline Tausani Airline that has yet to obtain US Federal Aviation Administration certification to operate American Samoa’s domestic air service. It remains unclear as to the status of the operation of the airline that received a loan from the Development Bank of American Samoa.

Lealao Melila Purcell, the former director of DOA, served for nearly two years in the position during the last term of the Togiola Administration, and when the Lolo Administration took the helm of government in 2013 he took over the same cabinet post.

However, since last October, Lealao has been off island for medical reasons and Deputy Director Peter Gurr took on the role of Acting Director.

As previously reported by Samoa News, the governor in a Nov. 22, 2016 memo made an “emergency appointment” of Tapa’au Dr. Daniel Aga to the post of DOA acting director in the absence of the director and the deputy director from the territory. (See Samoa News edition Nov. 28 for details).

DOA Deputy Director Peter Gurr, a career service employee with the department for about 24 years, had been acting director in the absence of Lealao. Samoa News understands that Gurr didn’t apply for the DOA directorship post.

Last Friday, Gurr and Tapa’au held their last meeting for the transition to the new acting director, who begins today. The DOA staff also had a farewell gathering for Tapa’au, who is executive director of the Office of Political Status, Constitution and Federal Relations — an ASG entity that comes under the purview of the Governor’s Office.

OTHER APPOINTMENTS

Also last Friday afternoon the Governor’s Office released separate memos reappointing former cabinet directors from the last four years of the Lolo Administration to head the same departments in the next four years.

•    Catherine Aigamaua Saelua — Office of Budget and Planning

•    Motusa Tuileama Nua — Department of Health

•    Fuiavailili Keniseli Lafaele – Department of Commerce

The memos made clear that “pending nomination and confirmation” by the Fono, these individuals are designated as acting directors effective today, Jan. 9.

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