LBJ Hospital’s CFO position in limbo while appeal plays out
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The hospital’s Chief Financial Officer position will be advertised after the appeal process for the former CFO is completed.
This is according to Acting Chief Executive Officer Dr Akapusi Ledua in response to questions from Samoa News.
“The LBJ CFO position will be advertised after the appeal process by our former CFO is completed,” he said.
He said the board has appointed Tulili Tone as Acting CFO. Ms Tone was formerly the financial controller.
“We have signed a contract engaging a financial consultant to assist for now until we advertise the CFO position.”
Samoa News sent follow up questions as to how long the contract is for, but there was no response from the Acting CEO as of press time.
Earlier this month chairman of the hospital Board, Dr Malomatumua Tuiolosega said they “no longer have faith” in the Chief Financial Officer’s (CFO) “ability to manage the finances of the Hospital.”
This was confirmed in a letter sent to LBJ Hospital’s CFO Fala Sualevai-Lesa, dated March 4, 2023 and obtained by Samoa News. Efforts were made to get comments from the outgoing CFO but were unsuccessful as of press time.
“Specifically, your employment is being terminated because ASMCA no longer has faith in your ability to manage the finances of the Hospital because you falsely accused both the former CFO and current employees of destroying financial records, which did not occur.
“This false accusation led to adverse employment actions against LBJ employees and contributed to the termination of the former CFO.
“Additionally, you repeatedly mislead the Board of Directors with regard to the subsidies provided by ASG leading to additional strain on the relationship between LBJ and ASG. Based on these events ASMCA can no longer put faith in the information provided by your office,” said the Chairman.
Mrs Lesa was served with a 30-day notice of separation. “You have the right to appeal this decision within 10 calendar days of this notice.
“Additionally, due to the egregious and disruptive nature of your conduct, you are hereby suspended without pay for the duration of the 30-day notice period Pursuant to A.S.A.C. § 11.0445.
“Under the provisions of your Employment Agreement, you will be eligible to receive the following benefits from ASMCA, subject to standard deductions and withholdings and you will be paid all accrued compensation up to the date of your suspension including any annual and sick leave not to exceed the maximum of 60 days or 480 hours of annual leave, and maximum of 30 days or 240 hours of sick leave.
“Pursuant to your Employment Agreement you are solely responsible for the payment of any tax liability if any, that may result from any payments or benefits that you receive pursuant to your Employment Agreement.
“Additionally, You are required to returned to ASMCA any and all documents, software, equipment (including, but not limited to, computers and computer-related items, vehicles and phones), and all other materials or other things in your possession, custody, or control which are the property of the ASMCA, including, but not limited to, ASMCA identification, keys, and the like, wherever such items may have been located; as well as all copies (in whatever form thereof) of all materials relating to your employment, or obtained or created in the course of your employment with the Company.
“You are also required to keep confidential, and shall not hereafter use or disclose to any person, firm, corporation, governmental agency, or other entity, in whole or in part, at any time in the future, any trade secret, proprietary information, or confidential information of ASMCA, including, but not limited to, information relating to trade secrets, processes, methods, marketing plans, financial results, financial records and reports, regulatory matters and compliance, and other confidential matters, except,” said the Chairman.
Prior to her suspension, the outgoing CFO issued an apology letter to the Chairman of the House Health Committee regarding the LBJ subsidies.
According to the letter, “On the 9th of February 2023, the Fono committee visited and toured the LBJ Hospital.
“During the conference meeting, the Fono members asked if the LBJ Hospital had received ASG subsidies for FY2023.
“Based on the information I knew at the time, I advised the Committee that we had not received the ASG subsidies for FY2023.
“However, following a thorough review of the receipts received from Treasury, I confirm that the subsidies for October 2022 to January 2023 amounting to $540,000 were received and posted in late February 2023 following closing off the books.”
Mrs Lesa cited the oversight was due to the value of the receipts in comparison to the 2023 approved budget by the Fono.
“As the Fono had approved a total subsidy of $4m for FY2023.
“However, the funds received by Finance were still based on the FY2022 funding of $2m. “Due to the difference between the amounts received from treasury and the amount approved by Fono, I was not made aware at the time of the receipt of the funds until late February 2023.
“I apologize for the criticism that the incorrect information has caused for the Board because of the oversight and misinformation on my part.
“We have taken the necessary steps to ensure that the same is not repeated in the future. I wish to express my sincere apologies to the House Health Committee, the Governor and the Treasury Department, and the Board for the misinformation that has caused such criticism in recent weeks,” said the outgoing CFO in her letter.