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Increase in requests prompts Lolo to reiterate — no OT unless pre-approved

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga
Overtime suspended unless emergencies require it

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Through a memo issued Tuesday this week, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga told cabinet members that overtime is suspended unless there are emergencies requiring overtime, and overtime is allowed only if it’s pre-approved.

Under the administration’s long-standing policy, all overtime work requires pre-approval of the governor, but there has been many requests for pre-approval in recent weeks prompting the latest directive from the governor, according to ASG officials, who told Samoa News that there have been pre-approved overtime requests from several executive branch agencies but declined to give specifics.

“The increased flurry of overtime requests for my approval is alarming given the absence of the need for incurrence except for the Department of Health and the Department of Port Administration dealing with COVID-19 mitigation issues,” the governor wrote in his Nov. 17th memo to cabinet members.

“It is disconcerting as well as it appears that Directors are not monitoring closely the need to incur overtime,” he said, noting that the Administration has a standing policy requiring pre-approval of all overtime before they are incurred.

The governor points out the requests, which he has received fail to comply with such policy and are therefore subject to denial.

“Accordingly, as of the date of this writing (Nov. 17th), all overtime is to be suspended. Notwithstanding, there are emergencies which compel the incurring of overtime,” the governor explained. “The overtime pre-approval policy is again being reemphasized and will be aggressively enforced.”

Lolo reminded his directors that no overtime would be approved unless this approval process is followed.

“Please take heed of this policy as no overtime is allowed unless pre-approval is secured,” he told directors, who were also informed that the pre-approval process is authorized by the governor.

Under the pre-approval process, directors are to provide in writing “justification” for the overtime and the overtime hours to be worked, according to the governor in his executive order issued two years ago on overtime.