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LBJ board discloses that former CEO is receiving full salary and benefits

Dr. Malouamaua Tuiolosega
No breach of contract is evident so payment is legally required
Joyetter@samoanews.com

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Despite resigning from his post as the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer, just nine month into his three year contract, Moefa’auo Bill Emmsley will still get his full salary and benefits stipulated under his contract with LBJ Hospital.

This was confirmed by the hospital’s legal counsel, Thomas Jones during a press conference with the media yesterday.

 “His contract is confidential. I would imagine you wouldn’t want your employer to disclose the terms of your contract and that’s beyond the scope of what we as employers are allowed to disclose; but he will be allowed pay through the term of his contract, he is not being short-changed in that respect,” said Jones.

Jones said the board is abiding by the agreement they signed with the CEO.

Asked about comments regarding Moefaauo staying home yet still getting paid from taxpayers money, the hospital lawyer says the former CEO did not breach his contract.

 “It was a difference in opinion and vision on where the hospital should go that was one example of the difference in opinion and vision. Now is that a breach of his employment contract? No, it really wasn’t. He was doing the best he thought he could do for the hospital and that vision that he had didn't align with what the board had.

 “If something does comes to light that reveals that he breached his employment contract and that he’s not entitled to this compensation then we'll deal with it at that time; but right now what happened didn't rise to the level of a breach of his contract.

 “So we can't withhold payment from someone who is entitled to it.  There’s no legal justification for us to do that; no matter how people are angered or disappointed in the situation,” explained Jones.

Samoa News inquired about the process used to hire the CEO nine months ago and what assurance the board can give that they will not make the same mistake again.

Chairman of the hospital board, Dr. Malouamaua Tuiolosega said he takes full responsibility for hiring Moefa’auo.

 “It was a clean selection by the board, and I stand by [our decision]. And in moving forward there are things that cannot be revealed in your fancy resume and working history and even though there were some [issues] with his working history, but nothing illegal was found,” he said.

However in moving forward, the Chairman said they are looking at ways to do a better job in hiring someone who can do the CEO job.

 “Even if we have to hire internationally,” said Dr. Malouamaua.

The Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joseph Shumway pointed out that he was supposed to be hired in July last year, however the former CEO took his time.

 “The board gave clear instructions to Bill Emmsley about what they wanted to get done and I can only speak for myself; why did it take six to seven months for me to be hired?

 “Why do you take that long for me to come and if you think about that a little deeply you realize that perhaps Bill had a different direction than what the board had.

 “And there is a difference, hiring someone and thinking that he will execute what you want him to do or what you believe you have a common mission and you reached an agreement and then you find out that person has a different direction, a different sensibility, different ideas and he refuses. It’s insubordinate not fulfilling those directions and that’s a problem,” he said.

Vice Chair of the Board, Dr Jean Anderson also commented that she wants the people of American Samoa to feel confident in the board and the changes they are making.

 “We all make mistakes we all deserve the benefit of the doubt. If I can remind our people that Mr. Bill actually was part of the board of directors; he was a member of the board of directors.

 “All of us who came into this mission into this cause we had a collective understanding as board of directors. “And if I can also remind our people that the board was simultaneously working on a number of very significant changes at the top level and having somebody who was already a member of the board of directors who collectively committed to this mission.

 “We felt after reviewing all of the other applications and going through the interview process, it was the best interest of the hospital.

 “And that was the agreement we all went into.

 “As we said over time we became clear that this mission that we all continue to hold and move forward with was not coming to fruition as long as Mr. Bill was CEO.

 “And we ask the people of American Samoa, to trust us,” said Dr Anderson.

OTHER ISSUES

In the meantime, a statement released by Acting CEO Dr Ledua Akapusi stated that the people of American Samoa have faced hurricanes and tsunamis and endured.

 “Today we face similar challenges to our healthcare system that require action and rebuilding.

 “Our success will primarily be determined by our work and dedication in improving LBJ. The board.”

Dr Ledua and Dr. Shumway are committed to improving the health of all the people of American Samoa, the release said.

 “The new Non-acute clinic was launched yesterday to improve patient access and to reduce the patient waiting time in the ER.

 “We have twelve new physicians in our hiring pipeline and have approved over twenty new nursing positions at LBJ. These new staff additions will broaden our capacity to provide timely healthcare services to American Samoa.”

The statement says that they are also intently working to train nurses and doctors to alleviate our staff shortages in the future.

 “This month LBJ and the Governor's office sponsored four new students for Medical training at Fiji National University.

 “At the completion of their studies, they will return to American Samoa to care for our future generations.

 “We must look at our current Health care needs and also prepare for a bright future for our children.”

These efforts require many helping hands from government leaders and from the public.

 “We must eliminate duplicate services and corruption. We must focus our efforts if we are to succeed in the enormous task before us. We must do so for the sake of our people. 

 “We are here today, to assure the public that we will work tirelessly to serve the people of American Samoa. That is a sacred trust and duty, which has been given to the Board and LBJ leadership.

 “We assure the people of American Samoa that we are taking every measure possible to rebuild and enhance the healthcare services at LBJ.

 “We have much to do. Our doctors and nurses are committed to develop and pick up the pace of improvement. “We thank the many people who have worked before us as we continue to improve our healthcare service delivery at LBJ.”

The hospital statement outlines that they look forward to working with the Governor’s Office to identify and strategically fund LBJ and the health system in sustainable ways to develop a responsive and excellent health care system.

 “This may require many heads, many hearts and many hands working together in unity.”