“28% — FONO 1ST QUARTER APPORTIONMENT — 2017”

Dear Editor,

I am writing this letter to further clarify the “quarterly apportionment” issue to ensure that Samoa News and the public understand, and are not quick to say the FONO is the only branch overspending its budget by 3% of its 25% apportionment of its total budget as reported on February 13, 2017 Samoa News.

Pursuant to the American Samoa Code Annotated ASCA 10.0509 (a), each territorial agency shall submit a quarterly performance report to the Budget Office on or before the dates established by the Budget Office, and in the form prescribed by the office. The Budget Office in turn summarizes the performance reports and forward copy to the Governor, copies to members of the Legislature.

The Legislature of American Samoa being a separate branch of government is not subject to the above requirement under ASCA 10.0509 (a), as the Legislature have full authority and control the request, approval, and disbursement of funds in its budget. The Legislature shall fully responsible for maintaining proper record-keeping and management over the expenditures of funds

The normal quarterly budget threshold of 25% as the Budget Office Director referred to in her cover letter dated February 13, 2017, is 3% less than what the Legislature submitted in the 1st quarter of fiscal year 2017, which is 28%. Samoa News also understands a quarterly budget is 25% of 100%.

By law, quarterly apportionment is a distribution of amounts available for obligation, including budgetary reserves to provide for contingencies, in case of an emergency, or to effect savings, pursuant to the Antideficiency Act. There, the 28% submitted by the Legislature of American Samoa in the 1st quarter of fiscal year 2017 included budgetary reserves to provide for contingencies or to effect savings like the $169,832 that the Fono saved at the end of the first quarter, December 31, 2016.

We are only one quarter in fiscal year 2017, please understand that the Honorable President of the Senate and the Honorable Speaker of the House of Representatives are mindful of their duties and responsibilities as prescribed by law. More importantly, they are also mindful not to make or authorize an expenditure or create any obligation in excess of the amount available in they FY 2017 Approved Budget.

For the remaining three quarters of FY 2017, the Legislature will continue to submit quarterly apportionments based on our operational needs, to include budgetary reserves to provide for contingencies, etc.

Respectfully,

Talalemotu Mauga

Legislative Financial Officer

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