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Governor again issues memo about “flagrant abuse” of gov’t vehicles

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga
Deputy directors are not allowed to take gov’t vehicles home

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Executive branch deputy directors are prohibited from taking government vehicles home and the Police Commissioner is tasked with enforcement of this prohibition including repossessing all ASG vehicles not in compliance with this set policy.

This is according to Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s Aug. 25th memo to cabinet members reaffirming the Administration’s “stewardship of all government vehicles” and it comes amid more complaints that have reached the Governor’s Office regarding misuse of ASG vehicles after hours.

In the memo, the governor reminded directors that one of the memorandums issued by the administration on Jan. 4, 2013 targeted the curtailment of “flagrant abuse” of government vehicles.

“It is rather troubling and upsetting that 7-years and 8-months into our administration, the abuse of government vehicles has not ceased, which then casts a shadow over our commitment to our collective vision to model the way relative to complying with so many memos of this nature reminding you leaders that sadly we have failed to eliminate the excessive abuse of government vehicles within your respective agencies,” the governor tells cabinet members.

He also reminded directors that the Jan. 4, 2013 Cost Containment Measure memo articulated restricting 24/7 use of government vehicles to only directors. Additionally, vehicles used after hours were to be requested each time the need arose.

Furthermore, the administration also issues 24-hour stickers for government vehicles with justified essential use after hours.

“Many deputy directors are now going home in government vehicles and are being seen on the road at night conducting personal business,” Lolo said, and reminds directors that as head of agency, “you are personally held accountable to ensure that full compliance to existing vehicle policy is practiced.”

“We are not going to let up on this issue because to do so is to admit that we don’t have the fortitude and discipline to enforce issued restrictions on government vehicle use,” he said. “We will end this administration fully committed to enforcing this policy we announced advancing the inherent factor — saving public funds — which prompted its articulation.”

Accordingly, the governor empowered the Police Commissioner “to repossess all vehicles being used not in compliance with our policies, which also prohibited Deputy Directors from taking vehicles home.”

According to the governor, all vehicles are to be parked within the office compound overnight. Vehicles which are needed for authorized activities will be picked up from the office compound; conduct the activity and then return the vehicle to the designated parking area.

“No exception is allowed,” Lolo said, noting the semi-autonomous agencies “are expected to comply with the spirit of this communique.”

The governor’s written directive comes following last week’s cabinet meeting where he raised the same concern and instructed directors to comply with restrictions placed on use of ASG vehicles after hours.