FONO TAKING MID SESSION RECESS — GOING TO RETIREMENT MTG IN HNL
The Fono is taking a second mid-session recess, starting at the close of business Friday, and will reconvene Mar. 13.
The three-week recess coincides with the ASG Employees Retirement Fund board meeting in Honolulu next week. The meeting, held every two years, is also when the board invites lawmakers to attend and hear presentations from the Fund’s money managers and others on the status of the pension plan.
In past years, the Fund pays expenses for lawmakers to attend the meeting. In the Senate there are 15 members of the Senate Retirement Committee, while the House Retirement Committee has 11. Besides members of the Fono committees, the Fono leaders are also invited to attend.
It’s unclear how many lawmakers, as well as Fono staffers, will be attending the meeting.
A Fono concurrent resolution was passed, authorizing the three-week recess.
One week after the Fono opened on Jan. 9, starting the 1st Regular Session of the 35th Legislature, lawmakers took its first mid session recess and reconvened on Jan. 30. Since then, lawmakers have concentrated on confirmation of the governor’s cabinet appointments.
So far, the Fono has not rejected any directors, with another round of confirmation hearings continuing tomorrow and any director-appointee who has not yet gone through the confirmation process will do so when the Fono reconvenes next month.
FONO CONDOLENCES TO LUALEMAGA’S FAMILY
The Fono has endorsed a Senate Concurrent Resolution that conveys deepest sympathies and condolences of the Legislature and people of American Samoa to the families of the late former Sen. Lualemaga Etuati Tilotilo Faoa on his passing.
The resolution also pays tribute to Lualemaga’s “noble service” to the people of American Samoa. Lualemaga passed away on Jan. 24, at LBJ Medical Center and his two-day funeral services are scheduled for Feb. 22 and 23, while a family service is scheduled for 2p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19, at the Gov. H. Rex Lee Auditorium.
The Fono resolution notes that Lualemaga was known for publicly speaking his mind without fear of repercussions. And he lived believing, “Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treasons toward my country and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings” — a 1776 quote from Virginia Gov. Patrick Henry.
“His presence will definitely be missed,” according to the resolution, which also quotes part of a statement from Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga following the passing of Lualemaga, abut who the governor said, “a true friend is one who is not afraid to publicly disagree with me on several governmental issues, even though I am the Governor. We will miss him.”
QUESTIONS ON TAOA DIRECTOR UNDERSTANDING SAMOAN LANGUAGE
One of the issues raised during the Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday for Evelyn Lili’o-Satele as Territorial Administration on Aging (TAOA) director, was how she would communicate with senior citizens in the Samoan language, when she does not speak the language.
It is also an issue that has been raised by others in the community when Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga appointed Lili’o-Satele to the directorship post.
During the confirmation hearing, Sen. Fonoti Tafa’ifa Aufata targeted her questions on the director-nominee who does not speak Samoan and wanted to know if Lili’o-Satele will hire an interpreter. Lili’o-Satele, who is now fully confirmed by the Fono, responded that TAOA has excellent staff, which will assist her with the interpretation if needed when communicating with seniors.
ASG officials told Samoa News that Lili’o-Satele, who moved to American Samoa in 1967 with her parents and was raised in the territory, understands Samoan but is not fluent when it comes to speaking the Samoan language.
During the hearing some senators suggested revisiting the menu for the hot meal program, because there are times the menu is not fit for seniors. Lili’o-Satele was also informed that there are many times that seniors, who qualify for the program, don’t show up at the distribution center for one reason or another, and therefore there would be left over food plates.
Samoa News was told early this week about an incident where two seniors had recently visited their food distribution center and found that there was no more food left. And this occurred twice at one of the sites at the Tualauta County.