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$110K set aside for KVZK-TV travel, no money to air Fono sessions

[SN file photo]
Travel money to cover events in Hawai’i, Manu'a, and Samoa

The total FY 2018 budget for the Office of Public Information (KVZK-TV) is $1,901,500 of which $1,263,00 is local, while $638,500 is under the CBP grant.

Samoa News obtained a copy of the final budget for the Office of Public Information after many in the public, as well as the Attorney General have said they believe it’s perhaps time for the Fono to air their sessions, through television and/ or radio, live. No one has said who would pay for it —  KVZK-TV or the Fono or both in a shared endeavor?

For both the Fono and KVZK-TV Fono session coverage would be a new expense under each of their budgets — perhaps redirecting their personnel costs to cover it, converting maintenance personnel and administrative assistants  to public information personnel for it?


Currently the Office of Public Information (KVZK-TV) budget document notes that a total of 50 positions are funded under payroll, and the bulk of expenses is for "personnel services" which amounts to $1,028,500

"Materials and Supplies" total $10,000 while $67,500 is for "contractual services" and another $44,000 is for equipment. Approximately $115,500 is for "travel" and $636,000 goes to "all others".

According to the budget document, nine employees are on contract while the other 41 are all career service.

For the contractors, the director leads the way in compensation with $65,000 while the deputy director earns $50,000. The finance manager and the "documentary specialist" each earn $35,000 while the senior administrative assistant is getting paid $26,000

The production manager gets a salary of $29,000 and "TV producer III (Program Prod)" earns $16,650

Rounding up the contract workers are "Technician II" with a salary of $20,367 and "TV Technician II" making $20,000

Altogether the nine contract employees account for $322,857 in total salaries ($297,017 in pay and $25,840 in 'fringe benefits').

For career service employees, the highest paid employee is the "program manager I" making $30,487 followed by "TV Engineer III" earning $26,660 and "TV Production Manager" getting paid $26,240.

The 'administrative assistant' is noted as making $24,219 while the 'senior administrative assistant' makes $23,800 (this is aside from the senior administrative assistant on contract making $26,000 and another one making $18,210)

But there is yet another administrative assistant who makes $14,307. Collectively, the TV station has 3 senior administrative assistants and 2 administrative assistants who take home a combined salary of $106,536.

Six "cameraman technician I" slots are noted on payroll, making between $10,187 and $11,656. But there is a "cameraman technician trainee" who makes $11,227 which is more than four of the technicians.

Also on payroll are 10 "TV Technician" positions, 5 "technician" slots, two TV producers, a "TV Producer Director", 3 newscasters, 2 clerks, a janitor and 3 people working as "cameraman".

Altogether, the total salaries add up to $887,919 but with fringe benefits including step increments of $124,521, the total (to the nearest $500 as noted in the budget) is $1,012,500

For the "contractual services" category, the budget summary shows that $15,000 is to pay a consultant "auditor" and another $15,000 is for maintaining vehicles and air conditioning.

For "travel" the budget document shows that $2,000 ($1,000 in airfare and $1,000 for per diem) is for coverage of "graduations, Manu'a Flag Day, etc." and $3,500 is for rotational training/technical training ($2,000 for airfare and $1,500 for per diem).

For electricity and water, there is a total of $181,000 while $20,000 goes to "telephone & communications" and $5,000 is for fuel, oil, and maintenance for vehicles.

The only amount noted under "equipment" is $4,000 for a computer.


Under the CBP grant account, there are no positions noted, although the amount paid for personnel services is $16,000 which, according to the budget, is for the KVZK-TV crew's overtime for Flag Day, Christmas holidays, Election Day, and other special functions. The budget doesn't specific how many employees get a share of the $16,000 and how much overtime is accrued.

The $5,000 for materials and supplies is broken down as follows: $4,000 for office supplies and $1,000 for postage.

The $37,500 allotted for contractual services is divided into four expenses: $6,000 goes to a local vendor for 'consultant services'; $6,000 goes to another local vendor for 'maintenance and repair services'; $20,000 is paid to local and off island vendors for 'staff professional development/tuition assistance/fellowships/trainings'; and $5,000 is for local vendors for "other" although there are no details provided in the budget summary.

The most interesting expense under the grant is the noted $110,000 for travel:

$15,000 is set aside for "TV coverage to and from Manu'a for Manu'a Flag Day, graduation, and special news coverage/ faigalotu recordings;”

$20,000 is for "JPS football and Hawai’i Flag Day coverage in Honolulu;”

$50,000 is for "Staff TV rotational training/staff visitation in Honolulu;”

Another $5,000 is for the "Samoa Apia Flag Day coverage;”

$10,000 each goes to "grantor/ funding body meetings in DC" and "television executives meetings in the US".

A whopping $430,000 for "all others" does not provide any specifics, except "PBS program/summer youth participants."

 Samoa News was unable to confirm what this program is, how many participants are covered, and if American Samoa has participated in recent years.

The $40,000 noted for equipment divvies up to $5,000 each for 'equipment' and 'camera', and $30,000 for "ATC & UTV for travel to transmitter on Mt. Alava, poor road conditions".

The Office of Public Information has 8 vehicles in its fleet, four of which are labeled as "Local and DOI" vehicles, while the other 4 are listed as "federal grants and other funds" vehicles.

The total value of the vehicles is $253,120.