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Lemanu names acting directors and agency heads; 9 are holdovers

Taotasi Archie Soliai and Cherith Lober- Soliai

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Nine executive branch directors of the previous administration will continue to serve in the new Lemanu Administration as acting directors, according to the list of acting directors, cited in Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga’s Jan. 3, 2021 general memorandum released late Sunday afternoon by the Governor’s office appointing acting directors, effective 12noon on Sunday.

There has been much speculation about who would be appointed by Lemanu as acting directors for his cabinet and who would be the hold-overs from the Lolo Administration.

Among the those appointed to acting director posts from the Lolo Administration, according to the memo are:

•    Afalava Eliki Afalava - Administration Services

•    Muavaefaatasi John Suisala - Human and Social Services

•    Kenneth Soala Tupua - Parks and Recreation

•    Motusa Tuileama Nua - Health

•    Faleosina Voigt - Public Works

•    Catherine A. Saelua - Planning and Budget

•    Matautu Dr. Peter Tinitali - Protection and Advocacy for the Disabled

•    Michael White - Office of the Public Defender

•    Evelyn Lili’o Satele - Territorial Administration on Aging.

Also appointed as acting director for the local Homeland Security Department (ASDHS), is Samana Semo Ve’ave’a. Samana had served as director for ASDHS during the Lolo Administration, until he resigned in April last year.

The memo also confirmed a rumor that has been circulating in the community for the three weeks, that Malemo L. Tausaga — who had served as deputy Secretary of Samoan Affairs in Lolo Administration and was chairman of the Lemanu and Talauega Campaign Committee 2020 — is acting ASG Treasurer.

For the post of Police Commissioner, Lemanu has appointed Lefiti Pese as acting commissioner while local attorney Fainu’ulelei Falefatu Ala’ilima-Utu is appointed acting Attorney General.

Appointed acting directors are:

•    Solialealofiotagaloa Iosua Mutini - Agriculture

•    Petti Tagipo Matila - Commerce

•    Talauega Samasoni Asaeli - Education

•    Lynn Pulou - Human Resources

•    Taotasi Archie Soliai - Marine & Wildlife Resources

•    Christopher King - Port Administration

•    Ti’alemasunu Dr. Mikaele Etuale - Procurement Office

•    Salote Aoelua-Fanene - Youth & Women’s Affairs

•    Aoelua Solomona - Office of Public Information (KVZK-TV)

Samoa News notes that these are all directorship posts which require Fono approval but it’s unclear as to whether the governor plans to submit these same names to the Legislature for confirmation as directors.

Lemanu needed to appoint acting directors as the government transitions into a new administration.

Separate memos were also signed by Lemanu this past Sunday, appointing leaders of executive branch offices and agencies, whose cabinet members are not subject to Fono approval. A majority of these offices come under the jurisdiction of the Governor’s Office.

•    Tuiafono Vaiula Sua - Amerika Samoa Office Hawaii

•    Fa’amao O. Asalele Jr. - American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency*

•    Tuimalo Elvis P. Zodiacal - Historical Preservation

•    Ben Te’o - Insurance Commissioner

•    Sandra King-Young - Medicaid Office*

•    Lisa Tuato’o - Office of Disaster Assistance and Petroleum Management

•    Uta’ifeau Bill Kalasa - Sports Complex

•    Paepaetele Mapu Jamias - ASG Veterans Affairs

•    Poumele Pete Poumele - Vocational Rehabilitation Office*

•    Mariana Faiai - Criminal Justice Planning Agency

*It should be noted that Aslele, King-Young and Poumele served in the same leadership posts in the Lolo Administration.

Copies of the governor’s memos were sent to Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo Va’alele Ale and the Governor’s Chief of Staff, Tuimavave Tauapa’i Laupola — who served as acting chief procurement officer and at the Office of Public Information during the Lolo Administration.