Confirmation hearings for Gov. Lemanu’s cabinet begin this week
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Both the Senate and House have set their respective committee hearings this week for the latest round of vetting for the Lemanu Administration’s director-nominees sent to the Fono for confirmation. As of last Friday, ten director-nominees have been introduced in the Fono.
In his nomination letter to the Fono leaders, Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga described each nominee as a person who has “faithfully served” the territory for many years. The governor’s letters include resumes for each nominee as required by the Fono for their review.
TREASURER AND BUDGET DIRECTOR
The Senate Budget Committee has scheduled confirmation hearings tomorrow morning for Malemo Lafoia Tausaga, as ASG Treasurer, who is also the director of the Treasury Department, and Catherine A. Saelua as director of the Office of Program, Planning and Budget — commonly referred to as the ASG Budget Office.
The House has schedule a confirmation hearing tomorrow for Saelua but a future date for Malemo.
According the governor, Malemo — who holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration — had served as director of Administrative Services Department as well as director of the Office of Program, Planning and Budget in previous administrations. He was deputy director for the Office of Samoan Affairs during the Lolo Administration.
For Saelua, the governor said she has over two decades of experience in the Budget Office, including eight years as director. (Saelua was the agency’s director during the last 8-years of the Lolo Administration.)
Other nominees submitted by the governor and introduced in the Fono as of last Friday with hearings being scheduled this week and next week include:
• Fainu’ulelelei Falefatu Alailima-Utu as Attorney General. The governor said the nominee recently served as executive director of the American Samoa Legal Aid. Prior to that, he was an attorney in private practice, the general counsel for the Development Bank of American Samoa, acting attorney general, and assistant attorney general.
• Motusa Tuileama Nua as the Health director. Leman said he has “decades of experience” managing medical organizations in the military. And for the last eight years, served at the Health director and “he has kept our Territory free of COVID-19,” the governor said.
• Lynn Pulou as Human Resources director. According to the governor, Pulou — who holds a Masters of Public Administration degree — has 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors. Most recently she served as senior personnel management specialist in DHR.
• Talauega Dr. Samasoni Asaeli as Education director has 20 years experience as an educator in American Samoa, says the governor, who noted that the nominee has taught in the classroom and acted as school counselor, vice principal, principal, and assistant director. He holds a Doctorate in Teaching and Learning, a Master of Education in Administration and Supervision, and a Bachelor of Arts in History and Geography.
• Christopher King as Port Administration director. King has years of experience with Port Administration Department and since 2005, he has served as deputy director and acting director, says the governor.
• Kenneth Soala Tupua as Parks and Recreation director who has served as director for the same department since 2017, according to Lemanu, who points out that the director-nominee has years of experience as a leader in athletic organizations.
• Faleosina Voigt as Public Works director, a post she held for the last seven years. Lemanu said Voigt is a licensed Professional Engineer who has served in DPW for more than 20 years.
• Samana Semo Ve’ave’a as local Homeland Security director. According the governor, Samana — who previous served as the department’s director from 2017 to 2020 — has experience dealing with emergency management.
More director-nominees will be introduced throughout this week as the Fono leaders work with committees in both the Senate and House to move forward with confirmation hearings as soon as possible.