Gov announces funding to establish workforce wellness programs
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — In a Mar. 22 memorandum to cabinet members, Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga announced that ASG’s Commerce Department is accepting proposals from governmental departments or agencies for wellness programs to help improve the healthiness and fitness of the ASG workforce.
The federal CARES Act has awarded expanded funding to the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) Program to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to the spread of COVID-19,” the governor informed cabinet members.
“One of the most effective ways to prepare for and/or respond to COVID-19 is through the strengthening of our immune system which can be accomplished through an effective wellness program,” he explained.
He said exercise and nutrition are “key elements of any wellness program, and a healthy workforce is key towards supporting our economy and providing quality government services to our business community.”
As such, he tells cabinet members that DOC “is accepting proposals to support ASG Departmental or Agency Wellness programs to help improve the health and fitness of our workforce.
Lemanu explained that funding is being provided to pay for services provided through locally licensed fitness businesses and/or other well-established local fitness programs.
“While funding is limited, it is my hope that this will encourage all departments to take serious steps towards improving workforce wellness,” he said, and requested that agencies wanting to participate to contact Territorial Planner Michael McDonald at DOC.
This the second program launched by the governor — that has been made public by the administration — through CSBG the supplemental federal CARES Act. The first one was announced two weeks ago with funding to plan the implementation of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Workforce Development Program. This initiative is also overseen by DOC, which administers the CSBG funds.
ASEDA BOARD APPOINTMENT
In a separate memorandum, also on Mar. 22nd, the governor made the “recess appointment” of Commerce director Petti Matila as a member to the board of the American Samoa Economic Development Authority (ASEDA).
Lemanu said Matila holds a Masters of Public Administration and Policy and has years of government service with the American Samoa Government and the US Department of Interior. Additionally, her education and experience as well as her current position as the director of Commerce make her ideal for this position at a board member.
“As the Legislature is not currently in session, this is a recess appointment which will expire at the conclusion of the next regular or special session of the Legislature,” the governor explained, and noted that he has submitted Matila’s name to the Senate and House for consideration.
This is Lemanu’s second “recess appointment” as governor. The first one was made a few days ago for Chief Procurement Officer, Ti’alemasunu Dr. Mikaele Etuale, to the ASEDA board.
Lawmakers return in July for the Second Regular Session of the 37th Legislature.