Lacking fire system in EOB comes to light during confirmation hearing
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The House approved yesterday morning the governor’s nomination of Afalava Aliki Afalava as Director of the Department of Administrative Services with a confirmation vote of 16-0. During the confirmation hearing, rats, lack of parking and lights, and the lack of a fire system in the A.P. Lutali building (EOB) were some of the problems discussed.
Afalava, who served the same post under the Lolo and Lemanu Administration was appointed by Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga to continue his service for another 4 years. He appeared before the House Government Operations Committee yesterday morning for his confirmation hearing.
The hearing was chaired by the committee chairman, Rep. Faimealelei Anthony Fu’e Allen.
Rep. Lua’itaua Gene Pan asked Afalava if there is a fire system in the EOB building. Afalava replied, no. Lua’itaua told Afalava that it was during his visit where he found out that there is no fire system to cover the whole building. He’s concerned for the safety of all the government employees and members of the public who access the building everyday.
Afalava told the committee that when he first headed the office, that’s when he found out that the whole building does not have a fire system and this is one of the challenges they’re working on right now with the new Administration.
Ituau Faipule, Manumaua Wayne Wilson echoed Lua’itaua’s questioning and told the acting director to take this matter into serious consideration because it involves the lives of the people.
Vice Speaker Fetu Fetui Jr advised the new nominee to consider pay raises for his employees and to make sure to do his best to serve the people. Fetu reminded Afalava that this is a new Administration and it’s different from the previous administration where he served before.
Rep. Vailoata E. Amituana’i questioned Afalava regarding the many problems at the EOB building. Vailoata said the lights surrounding the whole area are not enough and his office needs to make sure the government property is secure and also safety for government employees working at night is provided.
Rep. Lavea Fatulegaee Palepoi Mauga said that the parking lot is not big enough to handle all the vehicles that park there daily.
Fetu told the witness that one of the problems he discovered at the EOB building is that there are too many rats all over the whole building. He said this is not a good thing for the health of employees. He said that the rat infestation at EOB in Utulei has been a long-standing problem and the government needs to address this problem seriously.
Afalava said what causes the rat problem in the EOB building is that too many government employees bring food inside the building. He said they can’t stop people from bringing in food despite the fact that they have advised them of the problem it causes.