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Aoelua rejected as OPI director

Aoelua Solomona Aoelua

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga has reassigned — effective immediately — Aoelua Solomona Aoelua as his Senior Executive Assistant.

“His wealth of experience will be an asset to the Office of the Governor and will significantly contribute to our executive operations,” the governor said in a Jan. 27 memorandum announcing Aoelua’s reassignment.

In a separate memo, dated Jan. 28, by the governor writes that Aaron Hall — who is Office of Public Information’s deputy director —  is designated as acting director until the director position is filled.

 Aoelua, who served as executive assistant to then-Lt. Gov. Lemanu between January 2013 and May 2019, has served in the directorship position for OPI since the Lemanu-Talauega Administration took office on Jan. 03, 2021.

However, his nomination for director failed to garner enough votes for approval and therefore was rejected by the Senate last week, although the House gave its endorsement. A director-nominee needs to be endorsed by both the Senate and House to be fully confirmed.

Aoelua is the first nominee by the Lemanu-Talauega rejected by the Senate.

Meanwhile, the governor — in separate memos — appointed Deputy Treasurer, Levi Reese, as acting, while Treasurer Malemo L. Tausaga traveled off-island Jan. 27.

Also travelling off island on Jan 27 was Office of Disaster Assistance and Petroleum Management (ODAPM) director, Lisa Tuao’o and the governor appointed deputy director, Salu Tuigamala as acting director for this office.

No information in the memos on when either of the cabinet directors will return to the territory, but Malemo informed a Senate committee last week that he plans to return on the first week of March.