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House approves two director nominees

Rendering of Fono building under construction
Constitutional amendment introduced in the House
ausage@samoanews.com

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Director of the Office of Disaster Assistance and Petroleum Management, Lisa Tautalatasi Tuatoo and Director of the Territorial Energy Office, Dr Misipati Salanoa, are now cleared to serve in the Lemanu Talauega Cabinet.

The two were confirmed by the House of Representatives this past Monday by a vote of 16-0. The Senate approved them last week.

The confirmation hearings for the two nominees in the House were brief.

Ms Tuatoo fielded questions about why the cost of fuel has gone up significantly in the territory when the wholesale price for a barrel of fuel dropped three times in the United States. She was also asked to help with restoring the siren warning system.

Rep Su’a Alex Jennings said he was impressed when FEMA Region IX wrote to thank Ms Tuatoo after an audit of a $14.2 million federal grant found no issues with the grant administration.

He said he hasn’t heard anything like this happening before.

Vice Speaker Fetu Fetui praised Dr Salanoa as an honest and hardworking public servant and moved to approve his nomination without further questioning.

Reps Lavea Fatulegae’e Mauga, Vaetasi Tuumolimoli Moliga and Vailiuama Steve Leasiolagi said they fully supported Dr Salanoa’s nomination to head TEO and offered him their well wishes and support.

Faipule believed that the two nominees were the right people for the task.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT INTRODUCED IN THE HOUSE

A proposed constitutional amendment is now before the House of Representative after it was introduced last week. The amendment would remove the veto override power vested in the Secretary of the Interior.

The veto override measure means any bill passed by the Fono but vetoed by the Governor would become law once the Fono re-approves the same bill (via a vote of three-fifths in each chamber).

The resolution would remove the current provision where the Secretary of the Interior makes the final decision on a bill that’s vetoed by the governor and approved again by the Fono.

The House resolution is now transferred to the House Rules committee to set up hearings to discuss the matter on hand.

(Background on the veto override amendment in the territory available in the Jan. 24, 2022 issue.)