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Local gov’t HR schedules “reconsideration” hearing for Lisi

Taufoli Lisi

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The American Samoa Government Department of Human Resources has scheduled a “reconsideration” hearing for Taufoli Lisi on Nov. 22, 2022.

This was confirmed in a letter, dated Oct 25, 2022, signed by the ASG DHR Director, Lynn Pulou-Alaimalo and was delivered to Ms Lisi on Thursday (Oct 27th), the day her story was published on the front page of the Samoa News.

It’s unknown if the letter was ‘sitting’ undelivered prior to Ms. Lisi’s story being published in the Samoa News, or if it was released to Ms Lisi coincidentally, on the same day her story was published.

Lisi, a former employee at Sadie’s by Sea, applied in 2020 to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program that supports individuals who are unable to sustain employment as a result of COVID-19 enacted through the CARES Act.

Her case was denied.

According to original documents, Lisi was not eligible for PUA benefits as the employer discharge or suspension from work was not COVID-19 related. However, when she filed for an appeal it was not considered by the DHR, she then took her case to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

According to ALJ Marie Alailima’s ruling, issued on Aug 26, 2022, there is substantial evidence supporting a finding that the DHR has not undertaken any process yet to reconsider its decision denying petitioner PUA’s benefits.

 “The tribunal therefore finds this matter not ripe for a review on appeal unless and until such reconsideration decision has been made by the DHR.”

According to the HR Director in her letter, the petition will be heard next month.

“Please take notice that the petition for a Reconsideration Claim of Taufoli Lisi dated October 19, 2022 will be heard at the Department of Human Resources Conference room at the Executive Building, Utulei American Samoa 96799 on November 22, 2022 at 2pm.

“For your information the representatives of the Department of Human Resources consists of Joseph Felise, Rebebba Fa’alevao and Solefai Tapuala and representative from the Attorney General’s office is Deputy AG Roy J.D. Hall Jr,” said Mrs Pulou-Alaimalo.

Lisi has told Samoa News to date she believes she is entitled to more than $30,000 of financial assistance from PUA.

It should be noted that PUA closed last year.

When Samoa News reached out to Director Pulou-Alaimalo for comments; the ASG DHR Acting Chief for the Unemployment Division, Joseph Felise replied on behalf of the director, and declined to comment citing “confidential information”.

 “I do apologize for not being able to provide any information in regards to your questions about Taufoli Lisi.

 “This is because our department is highly anticipated in securing confidential information of claimants and barred from sharing it,” he said.