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Former ASTCA board member says they had no say in CEO selection

Lewis Wolman in 2014 when he was president of the Chamber of Commerce.

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Ousted member of the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority (ASTCA) board of directors, House Rep. Andra Samoa said the ASTCA board was not included in the selection of current ASTCA chief executive officer (CEO) Lewis Wolman.

Under the revised executive order establishing ASTCA as a semi-independent entity of ASG, the Board of Directors is responsible for selecting the executive director, or CEO.

"I believe the permanent CEO, Lewis Wolman was a recommendation by Adolfo (Montenegro) and accepted by the Governor. The Board had no say in hiring and appointing the CEO, despite the clear authority of the Board spelled out in the revised Executive Order," the Leone faipule told Samoa News last week.

"The Board’s first attempt to advertise the CEO position was back in July 2018 and, of course, the Governor was disappointed and instructed our Board to put a hold on the CEO ad," she said.

According to Samoa, during the second attempt to advertise the CEO position, the Board was told — again — by the Governor to put a hold on it and give him "time to consider some issues of change. "

Despite the Governor’s request, said Samoa, "our Board decided to proceed and follow the law with regards to open competition and its fiduciary duty."

She said Governor Lolo signed Wolman's contract on November 13th, although "the Board did not close its advertisement on November 14."

Samoa claims that "the former chairman [Faiivae] signed the contract after the Governor inserted his signature on Wolman’s contract, and pleaded with the chairman to sign."

At the same time, Samoa continued, the Board has not yet issued a letter of apology to the two individuals who had submitted applications for the job. (Samoa News was not able to confirm as of press time, the names of the two people who applied for the position).

On Dec. 26, 2018, ASTCA board chairman, Sen. Faiivae Iuli Alex Godinet and Fofo faipule Rep. Andra Samoa were removed from the ASTCA board via a signed letter from Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga, who said it is the "administration's policy not to appoint members of the Legislature to executive branch boards and commissions, unless required to do so by statutory mandate," and said policy helps "preserve the separation of powers" between the government's executive and legislative branches.

Faiivae and Samoa's positions didn't remain vacant long.

Last week, January 2, 2019, Lolo issued a general memorandum announcing the appointment of his executive assistant, Iulogologo Joseph Pereira — now chairman of the ASTCA board — and Alema Leota, the Governor's assistant legal counsel, as the two new members of the ASTCA board of directors.

According to the governor, both Iulogologo and Leota “possess skills and experience that will aid ASTCA at this critical stage”.

(See Samoa News January 3 & 4 editions for details.)

The other ASTCA board members are Lagi Asuega, Omar Shallhout and Alofagia Nomura.