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Gov explains why he rescinded portions of ‘roll back’ memo

Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga
In “anticipation of reorganizing government functions”

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — In a press statement on Wednesday evening, Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga provided a brief explanation on the reason behind his Monday, Mar. 15th memorandum, which lifted the freeze of pay increases and conversion of positions from contract to career service.

The governor’s memo rescinds portions of his General Memorandum 010-21 (GM 010-21) that imposed the freeze.

Samoa News reported on Wednesday this week that the governor in a memo last month ordered the roll-back of pay adjustments made without justification in the budget as well as rescinding conversion of contract workers to career service employees without going through the merit process — since Jan. 1, 2019 to the present.

Following further search of Samoa News archives and records, it was discovered that GM 010-21, which is referred to by the governor in his Mar. 15th memo, was actually issued Jan. 8th, five days after the new Lemanu Administration took office.

And the memo the governor issued last month is separate and was the subject of Fono hearings, calling on the governor to roll-back the pay increases and conversion of contracts to career service.

The governor’s Jan. 8th memo (GM-010-21), states that the freeze in pay increases and conversions is in “order to control spending”.

“In anticipation of reorganizing government functions,” the governor directed Human Resources to prepare a report of all pay increases and transfers of position from contract to career service from Jan. 2019 to the present, the Jan. 8th memo states.

An ASG official told Samoa News yesterday that a report by DHR was completed and then presented to the governor.

The press statement, released Wednesday night by the Governor’s Office, responding to a media request for an explanation on lifting the freeze — points to a provision of the GM 010-21 - “anticipation of reorganizing government functions,” which the governor has been interested in improving since taking office in January 2021.

“Since setting foot in Office, my priority was to prepare all working people of American Samoa with the ability to support their families as the economy and the cost of living continues to rise,” Lemanu is quoted in the statement. “It starts with building a solid fiscal foundation, and that is where we are at, now.” 

“Accomplishing a rollback at this time helps us find a good starting point on staying on the path that Lt. Governor Talauega and I have committed to,” said the governor, who noted that he will meet with the Compliance Review Committee (CRC), and “we will work on the next phase of this plan.” 

The statement says the governor is scheduled to meet with the CRC later this week.

Included in the Mar. 15th memo is the governor’s call to action to DHR and the newly reconstituted Personnel Advisory Board to strengthen ASG personnel procedural compliance.