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Legislative Reference Bureau workers: 20 contractors; only 4- career service

Rendering of the proposed new Fono Building. [SN file photo]

Of the four divisions of the Fono - Senate, House of Representatives, Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB), and the Legislative Finance Office (LFO) - the LRB has the least number of employees with 24, getting paid a total of $829,500.

This is according to a copy of the Fono's 2018 final budget — prepared in June 2017 — and obtained by Samoa News.

The budget shows that 20 of the LRB staff are contract workers, and the remaining four are career service employees.

The career service positions include the chief personnel officer, with a current salary of $42,317; a "chief LG process" getting paid $43,227; and two "senior administrative assistants" earning $32,380 and $21,387.

Salaries for the quartet amount to $139,311 but with noted "step increments" of $3,510 total, fringe benefits (16.7%) of $23,265. Another $586 in step increments as part of the fringe benefits, brings the total payout for the four career service employees to $166,672

For contract workers, the highest paid position is the director of the LRB, who is also a Legal Counsel making $80,000.

There are two other legal counsels on staff, earning $75,000 and $58,000.

(Samoa News was unable to identify the third legal counsel, who earns $58K, while the other two are known as they are called upon during legislative sessions to clarify legal issues for the senators and House representatives, as reported by the media.)

A chief translator is getting paid $35,000 while a translator/ probation officer and a computer technician are earning $30,000 each.

There are two other computer technicians and another translator/ probation officer — each getting paid $25,000.

There is an assistant/ translator earning $15,000.

Salaries for the legislative assistant, legislative researcher, and research analyst are listed at $28,000 each; and there is a legislative investigator making $22,000, and another research analyst getting paid $25,000.

According to the budget document, the LRB has a legislative library assistant getting paid $19,623, a computer operator II making $18,000; an assistant protocol officer making $16,000, and a clerk typist getting paid $12,000.

(Samoa News should point out that while an assistant protocol officer is listed, a ‘protocol officer’ is not, so who the assistant is ‘assisting’ exactly is not known.)

Seven of the contract workers are getting fringe benefits (16.7%) that total $10,494.

Altogether, the total salaries — funded locally — for the LRB is $752,444 but tack on the fringe benefits of $76,888 (including step increments), and personnel costs add up to a grand total of $829,332 although the budget rounds the totals to the nearest $500 and therefore notes the LRB budget as being $829,500

The fiscal year 2018 budget — $394.76 million — was signed by Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga on Sept. 30th. After he line-item vetoed amendments made by the Fono, Lolo returned the legislature's budget to the original proposed FY 2018 budget of $6,916,500.

(Read tomorrow's issue of Samoa News for a breakdown of the LFO budget)